Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Clementine Poppy Seed Loaf

It's snowing in NYC for the gazillionth time this winter. Yes, yes...snow is pretty. However, it's starting to affect my brain AND my kitchen. Seeing so much snow must have made me make such a mess with sugar during this recipe. I was obviously trying to recreate a snow scene on my counter. Um, yeah.
Well, as I say, "If it's a mess, it's a success!" This bread was no exception. I loved the clementine flavor. Something about the orange look of the bread and the citrus flavor made me feel like it WASN'T cold outside. I also discovered that this bread is especially awesome when toasted with cream cheese on top. And, unlike Reading Rainbow, you DO have to take my word for it. Or make it yourself.
Clementine Poppy Seed Loaf (from Turntable Kitchen)
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
1 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
2/3 cup of fragrant, extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of clementine zest (from 3 clementines)
3/4 cup of clementine juice (from the same 3 clementines you zest)
3 large eggs

1. Butter a 12×4 inch loaf pan and preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a large bowl, sift the the flour, pinch of salt and baking powder.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, zest, vanilla extract and olive oil. Whisk on high speed until combined, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
4. Add 1/3 of the dry mix, mixing on low speed, then add half of the clementine juice and continue mixing. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by the rest of the clementine juice. Once combined, add the last of the flour mixture and the poppy seeds and mix one last time until all of the flour is fully incorporated.
5. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes (until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
6. Let cool in the pan slightly before slicing and serving on its own, or with a scoop of ice cream).
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Delightful Drunken Cranberry Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

I swear I don't live on a movie set. At least, I'm pretty sure I don't. However, as I walked home last night from the subway, I noticed that my whole street was blocked off with movie trailers.
I could tell it was a big budget film compared to the last movie filmed on my street: Rolo Pretzel & Pecan Bites (and a Bollywood Movie!) I found out that it was the "next Megan Fox film" which I have deduced from imdb.com to be Friends with Kids. I didn't see Megan Fox, but I did walk by Maya Rudolph. At least I'm pretty sure it was her.
As exciting as all of this is (read: not very), I was glad to wake up this morning and find the trailers gone. Their generators were very noisy!

Good thing I had these delightful cookies to keep me company along with the noise of the generators. The idea of these cookies might seem strange, but don't be scared. The combination of rum soaked cranberries, lemon zest, and cornmeal makes for one yummy cookie. Seriously, everyone agreed that these cookies were very good and very delightful. Bake them and see for yourself. :)
Drunken Cranberry Lemon Cornmeal Cookies (adapted from 6 Bittersweets)
Makes about 32 cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/3 tsp salt
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup dried cranberries soaked in rum and hot water. (About 4:1)
Powdered sugar, to garnish (optional)

Soak the dried cranberries in rum and hot water for at least 2 hours. They should be completely covered in liquid (about 4 parts rum, 1 part hot water.) Feel free to soak for longer if desired. Strain the cranberries before using.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and salt, then egg yolks. Beat in cornmeal, then flour. Stir in cranberries. Knead dough just to combine; divide in half transfer each to a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Form dough into two 1 1/2 x 6-inch logs. Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice dough log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Arrange rounds on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart and reshaping into rounds if uneven.

Bake cookies until golden at edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to rack. Cool completely, and dust with powdered sugar if desired. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Erika's Extras: This recipe can be made without rum. Just use the dried cranberries as is. If they are a little too dry, soak in hot water until plump.
Bake well and prosper!

UPDATE! I've just done something new for me in the world of blogging. I was invited by Lisa to be apart of her Sweets for a Saturday via Linky. It's the first time I heard of Linky. Check out what else is going on over on her blog for Sweets for a Saturday: Sweet As Sugar Cookie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Potpourri - Buttered Rosemary & Orange Nuts

Ok. So, this isn't exactly a dessert. It DOES contain sugar, but I mean, seriously? Could I pull this off as a dessert at a bake sale? Exactly. Thus I have made a new entry idea for my blog: Potpourri. If I make something that isn't a dessert, but that I just HAVE to share with you, I'll label it as a Potpourri Post. (Say that 5 times fast.)

Well, I saw this recipe on Framed Cooks yesterday and I was so enraptured with it that I HAD to make it right away. Also, I had lots of nuts that needed to be used, so it was very much a win-win situation. Further side note: I know the sister of the author of Framed Cooks.

Anywho... these mixed nuts are so lovely! I have decided that they will be my afternoon snack every day this week. I hope you enjoy them too! 
Buttered Rosemary Orange Nuts (from Framed Cooks)
2 cups salted mixed nuts (Erika's Extra: I used raw nuts and added sea salt to them)
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons orange zest

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When melted add the mixed nuts, sugar, rosemary, and orange zest. Stir just until the sugar is melted and everything is well-combined, which will take about 2 minutes.

2. Pour onto a piece of parchment paper or nonstick foil and let cool before serving. This will keep for at least a week...if it lasts that long!
Bake well and prosper!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

It all started out like usual. I was baking cookies for my friend's 30th birthday. I added the flour like normal and that's what started it all...
The great mess of 2011. Next thing I had to add was the sugar. Simple enough...
*sigh* I decided at this point that I was going to blame my running 9.5 miles in the morning. Must have made my hands shaky... yeah.

Well, for Casey's 30th I wanted to try to decorate the cookies with powder sugar outlining the number 30. 
They weren't turning out as well as I had hoped, so I switched to hearts.
This was better, but I was scared that the powdered sugar would get all messed up traveling to his party. So, naturally, I took the easy way out. I grabbed an edible marker and marked some cookies with "30."
Of course, all of this powdered sugar caused an even bigger mess...
Ah well. Even though I might be a messy chef, I can tell you that these cookies were fantastic! Make sure you have some milk on hand while eating. :) 
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for rolling

1.Sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir chocolate and cocoa into melted butter until melted and smooth. Mix in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
2.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line them with parchment paper. Roll the chilled dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in confectioners' sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
3.Bake for 9 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the tops are cracked. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.
Erika's Extras: I used parchment paper for the first time. I got an unbleached, environmentally friendly kind and I am in love with it.
Bake well and prosper!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


On New Year's Day I felt like making Johnnycake. It was a special treat for my siblings and me while growing up and it would be a good way to start the year.

A little sweeter and more cake like than cornbread, Johnnycake's origin is from Native Americans who taught the Europeans how to cook with cornmeal.
Lots of versions of Johnnycake look like pancakes, but the one I was raised on is more like cornbread. Both still call for butter and maple syrup on top. :)

This was my first time using cornmeal and I bought an organic type. I credit this to making the Johnnycake better than I remembered from when I was a kid. Happy New Year to me indeed! 
Johnnycake (from My Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook)
1 egg
1 C & 2 T milk
1/2 C flour
1 C corn meal
2 T sugar
3 t baking powder
1 t salt

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease 9 x 9 pan. Heat in oven while mixing batter. Beat egg. Beat all ingredients with rotary beater just until smooth. Pour batter into hot pan. Bake 20 minutes. Serve hot with butter and syrup.
Bake well and prosper!