Archive for August, 2014

Favorite Shots: Specialty Hugs

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If you suffer from the generosity of your dear neighbors, who insist you take more raspberries than you might be able to consume from their overflowing raspberry brambles, I have a wonderful solution for you. Simply dig out your specialty raspberry ice cube tray and put those berries to good use at a later time.

In water. In cocktails. In an iced latte. I’m sorry, just imagine those coffee/raspberry ice cubes peeping out of the top of some creamy iced coffee. Just imagine.

My roommate said, “It’s like the raspberries are getting a little hug.” All nestled in.

Nesting,

Lauren

Pipe Dream #289: To Double Time It – White Chocolate Nectarine Streusel Muffins

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Welp, it’s that time again. Time for another crumb recipe. Time for another muffin recipe. Double time.

Too much. I’m now going to write this post in double time.

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2/2

Girl likes fruit en ripe.

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2/2

Girl likes crumb en masse (will include more next time).

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Girl baked the batch on the right at a lower temperature, the batch on the left at a higher temperature, and guess which one had a better rise? BUT, the one was STILL not correct technique. For best results, bake for five minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees. Your muffins will puff up like peacocks with something to prove.

I will actually do this the next time I make muffins. And there will be a next time. Me making muffins is like Jesus coming back again or Beyonce posting a photo of herself. IT WILL HAPPEN  AGAIN AND SOON.

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2/2

Bye,

L

White Chocolate Nectarine Streusel Muffins

Adapted from The Kitchn

This recipes makes 12 regular-size muffins. I split the batter in half and put it into mini muffin tins instead–made about 36. Reduce the baking time if you do this.

For the muffins:
2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
8 ounces greek yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 nectarine, diced + quality white chocolate chunks

For the streusel:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. In another bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, greek yogurt, and vanilla. Add the melted butter, pouring in a slow and steady stream, while whisking vigorously to emulsify the mixture.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and gently fold until the liquid is just barely combined, being careful not to over-mix. (A few lumps are okay.) Stir in the chopped nectarines and white chocolate. Fill each muffin well all the way to the top with batter; set aside while preparing the streusel.

For the streusel, add the flour, brown sugar, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the melted butter and gently stir with a fork until well combined and small pebble-sized pieces remain throughout.

Top each filled well with a heaping tablespoon of streusel, lightly pressing it into the batter. (A round cookie cutter placed over the cup helps keep the mess to a minimum.) Bake muffins for 18 to 22 minutes, until tops are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Leave the muffins in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.

The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. The batter can be made in advance and held in the refrigerator for up to two days, or frozen for two weeks.

Favorite Shots: Curlicue, Cherry, Pectoral

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This U-Pick orchard was run by the sweetest Indian family, all of whom were very beautiful, from wrinkled date patriarch to the wide-eyed curlicue baby.

Also, cherries.

Also, pectoral.

Lauren

Stone Fruit//Okanagan Valley

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Thus follow the pics from my favorite day of family vacation, wherein the boys talked shop, and I ate endless handfuls the biggest, burstiest, organic-est, hippie blueberries you ever did see. There was also more that happened on this day, but I’ve limited this post to stone fruit. Enjoy, and please git the last of the stone fruit at your local grocer before the season is out!

L

P.S. Stayed tuned for tomorrow, which is my favorite pic of the whole day/vacation.

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Pipe Dream #288: To Do The Don’ts – Raspberry Quick Bread with Dark Chocolate

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Do not eat this bread warm from the oven with butter.

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Do not open this bag. Ever. Not for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, and definitely not to chuck a few pieces into your raspberry bread.

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Do not use up a bounty of fresh raspberries in every way you can think of, including this recipe.

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On the real, actually: Do not overmix the batter. Mix the wet and dry ingredients, leaving some flour bits, then add the chocolate and raspberries, gently stirring them in. The rest of the flour will be incorporated without making your bread tough from overmixing.

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Ok, back to the regularly scheduled programming of this post: Do not undertake this mix-plop-bake process, which will take you all of 30 minutes and will provide you with a moist breakfast, brunch and dessert.

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And above all, please do not share, gift or otherwise bestow this easily freezable quick loaf with your friends and neighbors. It just wouldn’t be right.

Dazed and confused,

L

Raspberry Quick Bread with Dark Chocolate

Adapted from A Baker’s House

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
6 ounces fresh raspberries + 1 handful dark chocolate covered fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan with baking spray.

Mix 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In a separate bowl combine the greek yogurt, milk, oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until halfway combined, then drop in the berries and chocolate, mixing VERY gently so you don’t crush the raspberries until most of the flour streaks are gone. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 minutes.

Pipe Dream #287: To Be Your Everyday Average – Peach Crisp Cheesecake Bars

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In this second edition of “I didn’t make any fruit crisps this summer, but here’s what I did make,” I present to you: Peach Crisp Cheesecake Bars.

First of all, there is still time for me to make a fruit crisp. It’s August. It could happen. I luf them so.

Second of all, in honor of this occasion, I would like to bring up the best peach dessert, and possibly the best dessert I have ever made: Peach Cobbler + Maple Bourbon Cream Sauce. I actually can’t even bear to think about that right now, as I’m behind a computer and don’t currently possess any peaches. Go forth and make it.

Or these bars.

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I used white peaches for interest.

Ok, so they are not that interesting.

Ok, so this scenario: you’re chatting with someone, and they ask you what you do or where you grew up or some average question, and you tell them (or even worse, they didn’t ask, and you’re just telling them things), and then they say, “Interesting.”

Like, it’s just habit, but people pretend that the fact that you grew up in a suburb or that you spend two hours a day responding to emails is super fascinating. Just riveting.

That is a scenario that happens to me fairly often, possibly because I talk about myself too much or possibly because this is just how polite people exchange conversation. One time, I caught it and actually said out loud, “No, it’s actually not interesting,” and watched my new acquaintance’s face. This is not the way polite people exchange conversation, but it just struck me, and I couldn’t help it. Haha, I’m laughing even remembering that.

Anyway, I’m not blameless. I sometimes tell people they are interesting when they are not, but I try to be more creative and truthful with my responses now that I’ve noticed this tendency.

The white peaches were not so much different then yellow peaches. However, they were slightly more annoying because they weren’t free stone peaches, so I had to cut around the pit.

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This is just your everyday average cheesecake batter.

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And this is what normal looks like.

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Sew average,

L

Peach Crisp Cheesecake Bars

An LH Original

For the cookie crust:

1 stick (8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup) butter

I cup light brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

3/4 cups quick oats

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 white peach, diced

For the cream cheese filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, then stir in the egg and vanilla until well-blended. Dump in the dry ingredients through the salt and stir until almost combined, then add the oats and chocolate chips, mixing until well-combined. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan and bake for 8 minutes. Reserve the other 1/3 of the dough.

Beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Pour over the baked cookie crust. Sprinkle the died peach evenly over the surface, then drop on the reserved cookie dough in clumps. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top just starts to turn golden. Let cool, then slice into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

 

 

Pipe Dream #286: To Get Gussied – Bachelorette Brownies

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My best friend’s wedding was this July. This picture is so true to them. Very people-focused, loving. They make a good pair. And a handsome one.

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Before they were officially and for sure and no takebacks a couple of marriage, I threw her a bachelorette party. And these were the brownies that were there. Flavored with a hint of mint to pair with her wedding color of choice. How perfect.

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The KA Flour recipe actually tries to sell this recipe in the description like:

“Fudgy, cakey, fudgy, cakey… can’t make up your mind? If you’re looking for a brownie that’s right in between those two styles, you’ve found it. These brownies combine a fudge brownie’s ultra-moist texture with a subtle cake-like rise, for the best of both worlds.

Our guarantee [bolding not mine]: These brownies, deep chocolate brown inside with a lighter-colored top crust, will be about 3/4″ to 1″ tall when cut. They’ll be ultra-moist without crossing the line into gooey/underbaked.”

I want to say, “I DON’T WANT THAT DUMB GUARANTEE.”

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Apparently, dissolving the sugar a bit in the butter makes a crackly top to the brownies. (See also, this recipe for crackly-topped brownies. Weirdly, I flavored both of these with peppermint. I must have a thing.) For best results, I would do this part on the stovetop instead of the micro so you can see what’s happening. I don’t know that I dissolved the sugar long enough; it was still quite separate from the butter.

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To compensate for their correct baking time and texture, I gussied them up with garter belt-esque  frills. Downside of this: I really can’t report whether out crackly-topped at all. What I can report is that they did turn out somewhat cakey. And it was fine. Maybe it can imitative of wedding cake. How perfect.

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The only guarantee I will offer is that I remain your

Lauren

Bachelorette Brownies

Adapted  from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa or regular cocoa (I used a mix)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment and grease the parchment.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and extracts till smooth.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or just combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth. Add the flour, stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

If desired, frost with half a batch of this stuff, flavored with peppermint extract.

 


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