Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gone Nutty...French-style

As a baker, there are some days that my nut allergies really tick me off! Today was on of those days when I came across a recipe for Blueberry Financiers with a Cornbread Streusel and Cornbread Ice Cream. Does that not sound like absolutely delicious?!?!?! Financiers are a French pastry, similar to a tea cake, that has rich caramel undertones thanks to the brown butter listed in the ingredients. I was absolutely drooling over this recipe until I got to the "nutty" part. {sad face}

You see the batter of these deliciously sounding treats, that I am so sure go excellent with a nice cup of tea, is made by combining flour with ground almonds and confectioners sugar. The result are golden little bars, as is the traditional French shape, that I am so sure are absolutely DELICIOUS! So that leaves me staring blankly at all of the many wonderful images dancing through my mind of me enjoying these wonderful sounding little pastries. You are welcome to stare with me.

SEE...don't they look yummy?!?!?!?
I considered altering the recipe slightly but then realized that would not make it a financier at would just become a muffin! But probably THE BEST MUFFIN IN THE WORLD!!! Too dramatic? Well since I can't enjoy, there is no reason you can't. I'm putting the recipe below. Don't bother telling me how good they were once you make them. I won't care. (I will) I won't cry! (Maybe a little)


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (OR almond meal/flour)
3/4 cup confectioners sugar (OR powdered)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Place 12 rectangular molds, or you can use mini muffin cups.
  2. Place the butter in a small light saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, let it come to a boul, swirling the pan occasionally. As it boils you will notice that a foam will appear on the butter's surface. Continue to cook the butter until it looks clear and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and have turned golden brown.
  3. Remove from heat and immediately pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let cool to room temperature. You will need 1/3 cup of brown butter. Use the leftover brown butter to butter the molds with a pastry brush.  .
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, ground almonds, confectioners sugar, and salt together. Make a well in the center and fold in the lightly beaten egg whites, vanilla, and brown butter. Fill each mold almost to the rim and bake for about 10 mintues.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Recipe makes 12 financiers.

These are best eaten warm from the oven, but they can be covered and stored for a few days at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You can also pretty these French babies up by adding berries to the top. Raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries seem to be the fruits of choice.

If you choose to add fruit, at step 4 remove the molds from the oven after about 4 minutes and gently place one or two berries of your choice on top of each and continue baking for another 5-7 minutes.

In my superbly French-accented voice...VIOLA! It is finished!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Surprise Salad

I politely stole this recipe from a good friend (with loose  permission) who I would force to make this for me when I came over. I call it buffalo chicken surprise because of the dried cranberries she put in the salad which you wouldn't expect to be paired with buffalo chicken.  I think it's a lovely salad and I hope you enjoy!

Servings: 4

6 buffalo chicken strips
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup green onions
1 cup shredded cheese
Hearts of romaine lettuce

Compile your salad to your liking and feel free to add fixings that you enjoy. My friend puts nuts on hers but since I'll die if I eat that I think about it...I think she has tried to off me a couple of times by handing me this very salad with nuts hidden at the bottom.  Note to self: reevaluate friendship.

Well there you go! Its just that simple, enjoy your salad!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Uber Easy Homemade Caramel Sauce

1 can sweetened condensed milk
{YEP! That's it!}
- Place unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot and completely cover it with water.
- Place lid on top and boil for 3 hours. Make sure can stays covered with water.
- Use tongs to take can out of water and let can cool.
- Open can, once cooled, and ENJOY!
See! I told you it was uber easy!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brownie Cookie Cups...BROOKIES!!!

Like many people, I get a lot of recipe inspiration from Pinterest, how could you not?!?!? There are thousands of yummilicious looking treats and decadent meals that make you want to stop by the grocery store on the way home from work and cook up something FANTASTIC!

This brownie cookie cup is no exception! I am pretty sure I saw it on Pinterest but it wasn't a recipe it was some "special" pan that Williams-Sonoma used to carry but I don't think they do any more. But it was simply a pan that was slightly larger than a cupcake and maybe slightly flatter and I believe it was sold with brownie and cookie mixes. So today I decided to just go ahead and test it out with my old trusty cupcake pan and guess what...IT WORKED!

OK so yes, if you haven't guessed I have a bit of a sweet tooth! I do cook real food and sometimes it's even healthy! I'd probably have to actually post such things so you'll believe me, but this is a new blog so just give me a little time! {Please and thank you!}

So back to this yummy sweet ridiculousness! It's everything you would want when you can't decide between a brownie or cookies. That sounded greedy...let me rephrase...Uhmmmm... I got nothing! It's just yummy and good! And after all...isn't that what we all REALLY want deep (not so deep) down inside?!?!?!?! Just look at it!

Look how good that looks sitting on that plate! Can't you just imagine how good this would be?!?!? The brownie cup forms a perfect little bowl for the super yum brownie/cookie filling inside. It's the best of both worlds. This offers something for both the chocolate lover and the cookie fiend! It was quite simple! Just make a batch of brownies, then make the cookie dough. Or, you can be lazy like I was today and just use the box brownies, the basic Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie box is my personal favorite and grab a roll of Pillsbury chocolate chip and you're done! I greased the cups, poured the brownie mix in half way and then topped with about 2 tablespoons of cookie dough and baked for about 35 minutes.

But of course I couldn't stop there!!! Oh no...that would be nonsense to just stop at combining a cookie and a brownie. Nope...I like going that extra mile! I like pushing the envelope of ridiculous! I like going right to the edge of that cliff and then just diving off face first. Yep...I did it!!! I topped it off with some delicious Haagen Daaz Dulce de Leche Ice Cream!!! Yep...RIDICULOUS!!! 

And I won't apologize for it either!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pear Reisling Pound Cake

OK so I had this FABULOUS idea to do a Pear Reisling Pound Cake based off of a recipe I saw for poached pears and a cardamom whipped cream! It sounded simply divine and why would I not want to treat myself to such a treat?!?!? But why stop at just a yummy dessert? Why not throw said yummy dessert into a pound cake?!?!?! Even better!

The verdict...YUMMY!!! But in my most humble and honest opinion I do think my first draft was a bit too sweet and I need to rethink how I make it. For starters, I poached the pears in Reisling and 2 cups of sugar for about 30 minutes...or was it three cups? Maybe I shouldn't drink the Reisling as I'm baking. I then combined the cardamom whipped cream, pears with some of the Reisling liquid that had been reduced to a syrup and pureed them all together.

Are you licking your lips yet? I know I was!

What I neglected to consider was that all that sugary goodness from...well the sugar mainly (tee hee) and the wine would slightly carmelize the outside of the pound cake. So besides some sticking issues, despite my very well greased pan, the outside of the cake was slightly chewy and again, in my opinion, just a little too sweet. Ask my husband, who thinks its OK to put sugar on Frosted Flakes, and he'll say it was not too sweet.

So we will have to do another test cake! YAYYYY!!! I enjoy yummy mishaps and if sweet and chewy are my downfalls on this one, I'll take it for now!

Taste wise, the cake did have a very pleasant pear and cardamom taste and of course was SUPER moist! We just need to consider reducing the sugar. Next cake I think will be more pear-y and cardamom-y and I'll use the Riesling poaching liquid as the glaze!!! Oh yum, I can taste it already!!!

I'll be sure to post my the redo! Until then...KEEP YUMMY ALIVE!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Flour Butter Eggs and Sugar!

There is just something AMAZING about the possibilities of combining simple ingredients that by themselves can be very bland and boring (like flour...who has ever sat and ate just flour?!?!?) and mixing them into the most divine creations!

I didn't start baking until I was 25 and baking was not really my mother's forte...besides an occasional Sock-It-To-Me Cake or Sweet Potato Pie.  I started with brownies and THE MOST AMAZING french toast in the world. Yes I consider Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies out the box, adding my "secret" ingredient {milk instead of water}, baking. And yes...I am also considering making french toast with store bought bread "baking". But in all fairness it was a really good Apple Cinnamon bread!

When we moved to Georgia I graduated to all types of recipes, lavish meals my then 4 year old would just turn his nose at my presentations and baked goodies to share with all. I figured that's what women do in the south, right? Some were those latkes I tried to make. Others made me slap myself it was so good!

That's when it happened...I was bored and trying to find something to make. I had a hankering (I said I'm in the south) for something with sweet potato...but didn't really want to make a pie. Partly because I felt ashamed that I didn't really know how to make pie crust and partly because I had just had sweet potato pie. Then I came across a recipe for pumpkin pound cake. I'm not a fan so I figured I could just try substituting sweet potato and VIOLA! A pound cake was born!

The look on my family's faces when they tasted my very first Sweet Potato Pound Cake was enough of a reason for me to keep on baking up yummy goodness. Since then I've been baking up yummilious cakes, pie, cookies and anything else that starts out with mixing flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Now I've decided to bake and blog. I'm sure you will find my trials and tribulations with trying to make the perfect pie crust and other sugary confections hilarious. Well, one can hope...