This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe was chosen by Jaime of Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats: bee stings! Melissa created the bee stings out of her love for doughnuts. They're basically brioche buns filled with vanilla pastry cream which are dipped in a honey caramel glaze and topped with toasted almonds. They sounded delicious and I was excited to try them!
Unfortunately, luck (and perhaps skill?) were not on my side with this week's recipe. I started off by making the brioche dough and found it pretty tricky to work with. I added a lot more flour than the recipe listed (I lost track of how much extra but at least 1/4 cup and probably even more) and I kneaded close to 20 minutes with my stand mixer, but the dough hadn’t really formed a ball and was still sticking to the sides of the bowl. I was weary about adding more flour, so I gave up and stuck it in another bowl for its first rise. It didn’t look like it rose much (even after 3 hours) but it was late and I was tired so I shaped into rolls and went to bed. The next morning, I put the rolls in the oven for the second rise. They spread a bit but didn't rise much. I baked them anyway, and fresh from the oven I tried one. I thought it was tasty, however, as the rolls cooled they became quite dense.
I didn't know if they could be salvaged but I wasn't optimistic and didn't want to waste time and ingredients making pastry cream so I skipped ahead and made the honey caramel glaze. The glaze was really yummy and thickened up nicely as it cooled. I didn't have any sliced almonds but I found some slivered almonds hiding in the freezer so I toasted those and topped the buns with them. I hope to make these again at some point with better results - perhaps with some of the pointers I pick up from the other bakers this week!
I always have trouble when a recipe indicates a baked good is best the day it is made. There are only two of us here so I always need to find someone to pass the treats along to and that's a challenge on the weekends when coworkers aren't an option :) I planned to give at least 4 of the bee stings to my mailman (see below) so I was pretty bummed when the mail truck pulled up and I discovered my mailman was on vacation. His replacement was much less receptive to my baked goods so I guess I'm going to find out how the bee stings are on the second day.
Thanks, Jaime, for a fun selection this week! You can find the recipe on her blog or in The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. Stop by the Sweet Melissa Sundays site to see the other bee stings!
The recipe for these cupcakes was delivered to my email inbox a few weeks ago by Martha Stewart. She has been sending me "cookie of the day" recipes for months, but with the upcoming release of her new cupcakes book, recent emails have included cupcake recipes instead. I'm actually not a huge fan of strawberry cupcakes, but my mom loves them and I happened to have fresh strawberries in the fridge so I decided to give these a shot.
The cupcakes baked up nicely and were really moist! I adapted the frosting recipe a bit based on some of the comments - mainly replacing some of the butter with cream cheese. The recipe below reflects my changes. The frosting is fairly sweet but I liked it a lot, especially with the flecks of strawberry. Reviews of the cupcakes were mixed. My mom really enjoyed these but she prefers the other strawberry cupcake recipe I make (find it here) because the cupcakes contain actual strawberry pieces and not just puree. This frosting, however, was the winner! It's always fun to compare recipes and I'm glad I tried this one!
Sprinkles' Strawberry Cupcakes
from Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes via MarthaStewart.com
2/3 cup whole fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup whole frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, firm and slightly cold
8 oz cream cheese
Pinch of coarse salt
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
Place strawberries in a small food processor; process until pureed. You should have about 1/3 cup of puree, add a few more strawberries if necessary or save any extra puree for frosting; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together milk, vanilla, and strawberry puree; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until well combined and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add egg and egg whites until just blended.
With the mixer on low, slowly add half the flour mixture; mix until just blended. Add the milk mixture; mix until just blended. Slowly add remaining flour mixture, scraping down sides of the bowl with a spatula, as necessary, until just blended.
Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Transfer muffin tin to oven and bake until tops are just dry to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool completely in tin before icing.
To make frosting: Place strawberries in the bowl of a small food processor; process until pureed. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add confectioners' sugar; beat until well combined. Add vanilla and 3 tablespoons strawberry puree (save any remaining strawberry puree for another use); mix until just blended. Do not overmix or frosting will incorporate too much air. Frosting consistency should be dense and creamy, like ice cream.
Recently, I discovered a food blog I've really been enjoying called The Kitchen Sink Recipes. I'm incredibly envious of the photography on the site and I've seen so many recipes I want to try. The first one I made was for maple baked beans. I adore baked beans, though I admit I generally buy them canned. I always thought making beans from scratch was a lot of work and while this recipe is time consuming, the oven does all of the work for you!
I thought these beans were really good. They were lightly sweetened and had a ton of flavor! One pound of beans is a lot of beans for one person (Shane doesn't eat beans) and I wondered what to do with all of the leftovers. I found conflicting information on the internet about whether the beans would freeze well. I figured I'd give it a shot and stuck some beans in a freezer bag. I defrosted them this weekend and brought them to a friend's house for a cookout. I added a bit of water to a pot and reheated the beans for a few minutes before serving. I thought they were good, but definitely not as good as the first day I made them. I thought they'd lost some of their flavor but my friends still enjoyed them.
Maple Baked Beans
adapted from The Kitchen Sink Recipes
1 pound dried navy or great northern beans (I used navy)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
1/4 cup tomato sauce (I used ketchup)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 thick strips bacon, cut in 1/4 inch pieces
In a large pan (I used my 6 qt dutch oven), cover the beans with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 300 F.
In a bowl, combine everything except the bacon. Add to the beans. Stir in the bacon. Add just enough water to the pot to cover everything. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, then a lid. Bake for 5 hours, checking hourly to make sure the beans aren’t drying out. (Add more water as necessary to keep them submerged.) Uncover for the last half hour to brown the top, if desired.
I struggled a bit with whether to halve the recipe or make the whole thing. This recipe involves A LOT of butter and chocolate but I figured I'd just send them to work with Shane so all that temptation wouldn't be sitting around the house. I subbed peanut butter chips for chocolate chips in the cookie dough because I'm a bit of a sucker for chocolate and peanut butter together. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written.
I ran into a few problems as I made the chipster-topped brownies. I dolloped the cookie dough batter on top of the brownie batter with my cookie dough scoop but before I could even begin to spread it, it started to sink into the brownie batter. I panicked, quickly dropped the rest of the cookie dough batter on the brownies and tried to spread the cookie dough that hadn't yet sunk into the brownie batter. All I succeeded in doing, however, was swirling the cookie dough batter with the brownie batter. Clearly there would be no pretty layer of cookie dough on top of my brownies. I also had trouble getting these cookie topped brownies out of the pan. I ran a knife around the edge and inverted with no luck. I wound up having to chisel the brownies out of the pan. Turns out the edges were a bit overcooked but the middle seemed perfectly baked.
The verdict? My chipster-topped brownies tasted like peanut butter brownies. I didn't have the cookie dough layer on top and I didn't think the brownies had a distinct cookie flavor. They were good, but I don't think I'd make them again. It would be much easier to just make brownies and mix in some peanut butter chips! Thanks to Beth for letting me finally try this recipe! You can find the recipe on her blog. You can also see the other chipster-topped brownies by visiting the TWD blogroll - I promise some of the other bakers actually have distinct brownie/cookie layers!
It doesn't look like I'm going to have time to get a full post up before Sunday ends but here are a few pictures just to prove I did actually get the pie made on Sunday :) I was skeptical about this week's recipe and almost didn't participate as I couldn't find sour cherries anywhere, but at the last minute I came upon some cherries and changed my mind. And boy am I glad I did - I really enjoyed this pie! Many thanks to Michelle of Flourchild for this pick - it's a good one! I hope to get a full post up about the pie later tonight...
UPDATED: Well, I failed at getting a full post up last night but I did want to post a few thoughts about the recipe today:
- After a lot of searching, I wound up using red tart canned cherries from Oregon Fruit Products Company (I used two 14.5 oz cans). The cherries were packed in water so no issues with sugary syrup. I drained the cherries because I wasn't sure all the liquid in the can would be absorbed by the cornstarch. These cherries had great flavor and I would definitely use them again. My only qualm is that they were fairly expensive, though in all fairness I don't ever buy or bake with cherries so maybe cherries are just an expensive fruit in general?
- I don't know if I'd use Melissa's flaky pie crust recipe again. It uses a lot of shortening (as opposed to butter) to achieve the flakiness and I didn't think the crust had much flavor. Also, I had a lot of trouble rolling this crust out. It kept crumbling and I kept having to piece it back together again. Maybe I should have added more water?
- I used almonds instead of pistachios in the crumble topping. I don't like pistachios and I never have them on hand. I did, however, have both almonds and walnuts. I did a quick internet search to get a sense of whether almonds or walnuts would be a better match with the cherries. I found more almond/cherry combo recipes so that's what I went with. I thought it turned out wonderfully and I'd definitely go with almonds next time I make this recipe.
A few weeks ago I blogged about my first experience with my mini bundt pan. If you missed that post, all you really need to know is that it was a disaster. Fortunately, my friend Hanaa was kind enough to leave a comment on that post pointing me in the direction of the book The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread, which contains quite a few recipes that utilize the mini bundt pan! I was excited for the chance to redeem myself. I was especially excited that one of the recipes was for chocolate doughnuts! It was a no-brainer that I'd try that recipe first. I don't eat doughnuts often but they are definitely one of my weaknesses. I love them.
This recipe is fairly simple so I'll just note a few things. I didn't bother coating the mini bundts with superfine sugar and my doughnuts released without a problem. I also didn't grate my chocolate - I just chopped it finely. As a result, it really didn't melt fully when I added the hot water. In the end, it doesn't seem to have mattered as the pieces were small enough to finish melting in the oven as they baked. I am pleased to report that this mini bundt experience was much better than my first one. These doughnuts are really fantastic - so unbelievably moist and tender! Frankly, I was just happy that the batter didn't spill all over my oven - the fact that they also tasted wonderful was just icing on the cake!
As a quick aside, I've fallen behind a bit in my commenting so if I haven't visited your site to comment in a few days, I apologize. Tomorrow will be busy but I hope to get caught up on Monday!
from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate, grated
3/4 cup very hot water
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 2 mini bundt pans (each with a 6-cup capacity) with nonstick spray and coat with superfine sugar, if available; otherwise, use regular granulated sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a second medium bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder and grated chocolate. Pour in the water and whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate has melted completely. Add the butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture and stir until moistened. Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 prepared mini bundt pans. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and a toothpick inserted into the center of a doughnut comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn the doughnuts out onto a rack to cool.
Did you know that today is the anniversary of the release date of Pac-Man? No?? It's ok, me either. Apparently, Pac-Man was first released in Japan on May 22, 1980, which makes today the 29th anniversary! I would never have known had Shane not shared this tidbit with me the other day. I am constantly amazed by all of the facts and dates he's able to cram into his memory!
A few months back I'd seen these Pac Man sugar cookies online and sent the link to Shane. He's a huge Pac-Man fan and immediately declared he wanted to make them. We actually baked the sugar cookies a few weeks ago and stuck them in the freezer until we had time to ice them. With the anniversary today coinciding with a cookout at Shane's office, we decided we needed to get the cookies finished. It was fun working on this project together as Shane doesn't usually get involved in any of my baking! It was also a very time consuming process but I think the results were worth it! The ghost cookies were cut using a tulip cookie cutter (turned upside down). The Pac-Man cookies are made by cutting a triangular piece (I used a heart shaped cookie cutter) for Pac-Man's mouth from a circular-shaped cookie. You can find the recipe for the sugar cookies as well as a recipe and tips for the royal icing here.
Sorry there are so many photos but it's late and I'm too tired to narrow them down...
This dinner recipe, which comes from Giada's Everyday Italian, was all about trying new things. For the longest time, I always ate pasta with tomato sauce. It's only recently that I've come to discover the joy of pasta combined with other flavors and ingredients besides tomatoes. This recipe primarily caught my eye today as I looked for a dinner idea because I knew I had sausage in the fridge. When I saw broccoli rabe on the list of ingredients I thought I'd just substitute broccoli instead. You see, broccoli is known and therefore, safe, while on the other hand, I've only ever seen broccoli rabe on tv. I'm always a bit hesitant to try new veggies, especially when I'm counting on them to be a major part of my meal. In a rare brave moment, though, I picked up a bunch of broccolini (which I mistakenly thought was broccoli rabe) at the store today figuring I'd give it a shot in the recipe. I didn't realize my error until I got home so broccoli rabe remains on the "to try" list.
This dinner came together quickly so it's perfect for a weeknight. In a funny twist, Shane and I both enjoyed the meal, but for different reasons. I'm not a huge sausage fan, but I loved the broccolini and penne with the garlicy oil and hint of heat from the red pepper flakes. I found the broccolini more tender and sweeter than broccoli and I would say I actually prefer it to broccoli for those reasons. Shane kept as far away from the broccolini as he could but he gobbled up the pasta and the sausage and even went back for more. I'm thrilled to have another pasta dish to throw into our dinner rotation!
Penne with Spicy Sausage and Broccolini
adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis
2 bunches broccolini
12 ounces penne pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy pork sausage, casings removed
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the broccolini in a large pot of boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Remove the broccolini from the pot (reserve all of the cooking liquid) and immerse in a bowl of ice water. Bring the reserved cooking liquid back to a boil and cook the penne in that water until tender but still firm to the bite (about 10 minutes for my pasta but check your package for cooking time). Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with spoon, until browned and juices form, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broccolini and toss to coat. Add the penne and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, salt (to taste) and pepper.
When I set out to make the bread I realized I had no idea how to cut the mangoes! Fortunately, among other things, the internet is a wealth of resources on the best way to cut a mango. Here's a link to one site I found useful if anyone is looking for information. Thankfully, cutting the mango was the most labor intensive part of this recipe! Dorie must have access to huge mangoes because I needed two mangoes to get the required 2 cups of diced mango. Once I finished that, it was simply a matter of mixing the wet, then the dry, combining the two and then finally adding the mango, raisins and zest (I used lemon).
I divided the batter among my 4 mini loaf pans and stuck them in the oven. They baked up in a bit of an odd shape but I really didn't care as I was able to get them out of the pans without issue, which is always my biggest concern with the mini loaves. I dug into one of the loaves almost immediately and I thought the bread was fantastic!! This is definitely one of my favorite recipes from Dorie so far. I had tried a bite of the mango when I diced it, and really liked it, and found that I also enjoyed it in the bread. I thought the cinnamon was also a fairly prominent flavor in the bread. I received favorable reviews of the bread from the moms too so this one was a hit all around! I've pretty excited I've still got one more mini loaf in the freezer just waiting to be eaten!
Thanks to Kelly for choosing a great recipe this week! If you haven't grabbed Dorie's book yet, Kelly will have the recipe on her blog. Head over to TWD to see how the rest of the bakers made out this week!
I'm back with another dish that I served last weekend at our Mother's Day brunch. I originally saw this recipe in Ellie Krieger's book, The Food You Crave, but by the time I got around to making it, I'd returned Ellie's book to the library. Luckily, the recipe was also available on the Food Network's site. I think I can safely say that this was the most popular dish at the brunch! Folks reached for seconds and Shane and I even ate the leftovers for dinner that night. I love the ease and simplicity of this dish. With just a few ingredients and a little time, you get a wonderful dish with a lot of flavor (and it's healthy!). Based on some of the reviews of the recipes I read, I added some crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce and it gave the dish just a bit of heat. This recipe is definitely going into our dinner rotation!
Before I get to the recipe for Ellie's baked shrimp, I wanted to quickly mention a new product I tried last week. The FoodBuzz Tastemaker program gives those Featured Publishers who have signed up an opportunity to sample products from different companies. Recently I received a coupon to try Buitoni's new Riserva line of ravioli. I selected the quattro formaggi agnolotti which "pairs the savory depth of fresh-roasted garlic with an artful combination of creamy, imported grana padano, parmesan, custom ricotta and fontina cheeses." These were a quick lunch for me so when I read on the package that the ravioli could be served simply with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, that's what I did! I drizzled the olive oil on the warm ravioli, sprinkled on a few fresh herbs and dug in. The verdict? Impossibly delicious - definitely the best ravioli I've ever had. They're a bit pricey (I believe the 9 oz. package was about $5.50 at my local grocery store) but I can see myself splurging on them from time to time. There's a wild mushroom variety I've got my eye on for next time!
Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh dill (I used basil instead)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)
Preheat oven to 425 F.
Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet (I used my Dutch oven) over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, red pepper flakes and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the feta over the top. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes.
I'm so excited to be back for Sweet Melissa Sundays this week! Katie of Katiecakes selected the Guinness gingerbread as this week's treat! When I was flipping through the Sweet Melissa Baking Book, this was one of the first recipes that caught my eye and I came this close to selecting it when it was my week to choose. I'm actually not a huge fan of gingerbread and I don't like Guinness at all, but this was one of the few recipes in the book I thought Shane might like. (As it turns out, the allure of the Guinness in the recipe wasn't enough to convince him to even try the gingerbread. He did, however, drink the remaining Guinness that wasn't necessary for the recipe so he did his part...)
I threw the cake together on Thursday night so Shane could take it to work with him on Friday. I try to make treats for his coworkers about once a week and I figured this treat would be a good way to celebrate Friday. The recipe is simple and comes together quickly - no mixer required and no butter to bring to room temperature! I made only one minor change to the recipe and that was to leave the white pepper out. In my opinion, pepper and dessert just don't go together. I've watched Ina make her panna cotta with balsamic strawberries more times than I can count and every time she adds the black pepper to the strawberries she loses me. I know I should give it a shot before I knock it, but I just can't wrap my mind around the idea.
Anyway, I tried a piece of the warm gingerbread fresh from the oven on Thursday night as I watched the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I'd heard some of the other SMS bakers mention that the flavors were a bit too mild but it wasn't a problem for me. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's the reason I enjoyed the gingerbread so much. I sometimes find the flavors of gingerbread a bit overwhelming, but this one's pretty mellow. I had another piece on Friday and added a heaping pile of whipped cream on top and enjoyed it even more!
Many thanks to Katie for this week's selection. Head over to her blog for the recipe and be sure to stop by the Sweet Melissa Sunday site to see the other cakes this week!
Does anyone else find it really difficult to take good pictures of brownies? Seriously, I've tried so many brownie recipes that haven't made it to the blog because I can't get a decent picture no matter how hard I try. Someday I hope to take a photography class and learn the ins and outs of great pictures (maybe when I can fit a dslr in the budget). For now, though, it's just me and my point and shoot and a whole lot of trial and error.
I was bored the other day and emailed my mom to find out what I could bake her. She requested brownies so I pulled out some of the books I have on loan from the library and searched for a recipe that looked good. I haven't made anything from Desserts by the Yard and I loved the simplicity of this recipe so it won. I added some walnuts to the brownies, which kept me from eating all of them (I don't really eat nuts with the exception of almonds) before my mom could pick them up. They smelled amazing though and my mom tried one when she came and liked it. They're fairly rich with all of that bittersweet chocolate and quite fudgy. I'll have to try them again sometime without walnuts so I can compare them to Ina's Outrageous Brownies, which are one of my favorites.
Out-of-this-World Brownies with Walnuts
adapted from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat over to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.
Melt the butter, unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl for 2 minutes on 50% power. Stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth. (I didn't chop my chocolate finely enough and had to microwave the mixture for another 30 seconds). Set the mixture aside to cool a bit.
Using a whisk, beat the eggs and sugar together until fluffy. Add the butter/chocolate mixture
and gently beat with the whisk. Fold in the flour and salt with a rubber spatula. Fold in the walnuts.
Pour the batter into the pan and level with a rubber or offset spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan at the halfway point, until slightly firm to the touch and a crust has formed on top. (Note: a toothpick inserted into the brownies will not come out clean.)
Allow the brownies to cool to room temperature in the pan on a cooling rack. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Immediately I knew I wanted to try these. I did a quick scan of the ingredient list and made a mental note to pick up the items I needed next time I was at the store. Unfortunately, my memory is awful so I didn't exactly end up with what I needed (note to self: get better about making shopping lists). I adapted Ellie's recipe to make it work with what I had. I also had to skip the onions and carrot in the meatballs or else Shane would likely boycott dinner.
Even with all of my modifications, this was still a fabulous recipe! The sauce was perfect - very flavorful and just spicy enough. This was my first time using fire roasted tomatoes and I really enjoyed them. My sauce was a bit chunky because I picked up diced instead of crushed tomatoes but I added some of the pasta water to thin it out to coat the pasta and that seemed to do the job. Next time I make the recipe (and there will be a next time) I'm going to make sure I get the right ingredients and also split the meat into 2 bowls so I can add the carrots and onion to my meatballs, which I suspect will really enhance the flavor!
Turkey Meatballs with Quick and Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes, liquid included
1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle en adobo and sauce, or more to taste
2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
1 pound ground turkey
1 slice fresh whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, pulsed into crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/2 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
16 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti (I used regular spaghetti)
Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil for pasta.
To make the sauce: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, chipotles, oregano, rosemary, and salt. Bring all the ingredients to a low boil, reduce heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until liquid has evaporated slightly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. While sauce is cooking, make meatballs.
To make the meatballs: Preheat the broiler. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (I just lined the sheet with aluminum foil and sprayed it with cooking spray so it'd be easier to clean up). Combine the turkey with all other ingredients in a large work bowl. Form into 2 1/2 -inch balls and place on a baking sheet (The recipe calls for 12 meatballs but my mixture yielded 10). Broil for 10 minutes, or until browned and almost entirely cooked through.
Meanwhile, remove rosemary sprig from sauce and add fresh basil. Add the meatballs to the sauce, cover, and cook additional 10 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened and meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce. While the meatballs are cooking, cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and meatballs, toss and heat through over medium heat. Divide evenly among 4 pasta bowls and garnish with parsley and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan.
I'm not sure why I waited so long to make these as they really weren't very difficult. I had some issues with the piping (I think I should have piped them taller) so my puffs were sort of mini after they baked. I made the puffs and the filling on Saturday and then after brunch on Sunday I microwaved the Nutella and cream and assembled the profiteroles. So simple and pretty elegant I thought. These were really well received so I think they were a good choice. I liked the puffs a lot but next time I make them I'm definitely going with the ice cream filling - the cheese filling just isn't my thing.
Profiteroles with Ricotta Mascarpone
from Baking Illustrated, by Cook's Illustrated Magazine Editors and FoodNetwork.com
For the profiteroles:
2 large egg plus 1 large egg white
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
2 tablespoons whole milk
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
For the filling and topping:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, chopped
To make the profiteroles: Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper
Beat the eggs and egg white in a measuring cup. You should have 1/2 cup of eggs.
Bring the butter, milk, water, sugar and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture reaches a full boil, immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until combined and the mixture clears the sides of the pan. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly and using a smearing motion, until the mixture is slightly shiny and tiny beads of fat appear on the bottom of the saucepan, about 3 minutes.
Immediately transfer the mixture to a food processor and process with the feed tube open for 10 seconds to cool slightly. With the machine running, gradually add the eggs in a steady stream. When all the eggs have been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process for 30 seconds until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms.
Transfer the paste to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe the paste into 1 1/4 - 1 1/2-inch mounds on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. You should be able to pipe about 24 mounds on the baking sheet. Use the back of a teaspoon dipped in a bowl of cold water to even out the shape and smooth the surface of the piped mounds.
Bake 15 minutes (do not open the door at all during this time), then reduce the oven temperature to 375 F and continue to bake until golden brown and fairly firm, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and with a paring knife, cut a 3/4-inch slit into the side of each puff to release steam. Return the puffs to the oven, turn off the oven and prop open the door with the handle of a wooden spoon. Dry the puffs in the oven until the centers are just moist and the puffs are crispy, about 45 minutes. Transfer the puffs to a wire rack to cool.
(Note: The puffs can be stored at room temperature for one day or frozen for up to 1 month. Before serving, crisp room temperature puffs in a 300 F oven for 5 to 8 minutes and crisp frozen puffs for 8 to 10 minutes.)
To make the filling: Mix the mascarpone, ricotta, vanilla, and sugar in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until cold. Using a serrated knife, cut the tops off the pastry and set aside. Spoon the mascarpone mixture into the pastries and top each pastry with its lid.
To make the topping: Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and whipping cream in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds until warm. Stir the mixture. Spoon the chocolate-hazelnut sauce atop the pastries. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve.
The coolest and also the scariest thing about this week's recipe is that it uses entire lemons. Not just the juice and the zest, but the whole thing! I've never made a recipe where I use an entire lemon so I was intrigued though definitely a bit worried about the tartness factor, particularly given the descriptive name Dorie gives the tart. The recipe recommends using a blender to make the batter and I was only too happy to oblige because my blender is one of my rarely used kitchen appliances. It was really neat to watch the blender break down the lemon pieces until I had a smooth mixture. I tried the mixture before pouring it into the crust and didn't think it was all that bitter so things were looking good.
Speaking of the crust, after reading through this week's tips, I decided not to make Dorie's sweet tart dough and instead tried this recipe for Pasta Frolla dough which is made by hand! No offense to Dorie as I think her sweet tart dough is wonderful, but I just didn't want to have to wash the food processor AND the blender. The Pasta Frolla crust was everything I could have asked for: simple, well-behaved and delicious. I'll absolutely use it again in the future. I had to make my "tart" in a springform pan as I haven't recovered the base of my 9" tart pan from the recipient of my chocolate cream tart.
My tart baked for about 50 minutes total. I got a bit impatient when it was cooling because I really wanted to take a few pictures before the sun disappeared completely. When I tried to cut a slice to photograph, the filling oozed a bit and the slice fell apart so that's why you won't see a photo of a tart slice :) I have to be honest - I found the tart to be incredibly bitter, way too bitter to enjoy the lemon flavor and the yummy crust. I was surprised because as I said, I did like the filling before it baked. Maybe if I'd made some sweet whipped cream for the top of the tart that would have helped cut through some of the tartness. Next time I make this tart I'll definitely remove some (or all?) of the pith from the lemons and see what happens.
Many thanks to Babette for a really unique selection this week! If you haven't picked up Dorie's book yet, you can find the recipe on Babette's blog. Also, stop by TWD to see if the other bakers enjoyed the tart more than I did.
Happy Mother's Day everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a nice day with family and friends. We're having a beautiful (though very windy) Sunday. This morning we hosted a brunch at our house for the moms. I'll be posting all of the dishes I served over the next few days but here's the first one - spinach salad with pomegranate vinaigrette. I wanted something light and colorful to serve and this salad definitely fit the bill. I didn't actually have any salad at brunch but I tasted the vinaigrette as I made it and really, really liked it! Everyone who did try the salad enjoyed it. I've been looking for a use for some leftover pomegranate juice in my fridge and this is a great one.
Spinach Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
adapted from FoodNetwork.com
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and ground black pepper
6 cups baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/3 cup strawberries
1/3 cup blue cheese
In a small container with lid, combine pomegranate juice, vinegar, oil, and Dijon mustard. Seal and shake to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Place spinach in a salad bowl and top with cranberries, walnuts, strawberries and blue cheese. Pour vinaigrette over spinach and serve.
I was actually a bit uncertain whether I'd like these. As I've mentioned before, I don't usually combine meat with dessert. These cupcakes are definitely an exception to that rule. They are fantastic!! They're very moist and quite sweet and I found that the bacon fortunately wasn't a prominent flavor - it really just added a bit of saltiness. I didn't go so far as to garnish all of the cupcakes with bacon because, well, it just seemed like overkill. Shane is bringing these to work tomorrow and I'm looking forward to hearing about the reaction of his coworkers.
Just a few quick notes: the recipe says it will make 12 cupcakes but I wound up with 16. Also, as the recipe is written, my frosting ended up pretty thin - too thin to pipe for sure. I firmed it up a bit by chilling it in the fridge and just spread it on but if I made these again I'd probably add a bit more confectioners' sugar to achieve a thicker frosting.
Maple French Toast and Bacon Cupcakes
from Food Network Magazine, June/July 2009
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 3.9-ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half, room temperature
1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon (about 4-5 strips)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 strips bacon, cooked and chopped for garnish (optional)
To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, pudding mix, baking powder, potato starch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a mixer on low speed until combined, 6 to 8 minutes. Gradually mix in the vanilla extract and egg whites. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
Mix in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the maple syrup and half-and-half, mixing after each addition and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until the ingredients are just combined. Fold in the chopped bacon.
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.
To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon; beat until combined. Spread on the cooled cupcakes and top with chopped bacon, if desired.
Makes 12 cupcakes.