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Entries in recipes (676)

Friday
Jun182010

White Light: White Chocolate and Apricot Cookies Recipe

I'll confess: one of my favorite things about the publication Seattle Woman Magazine is that they often feature recipes from Macrina Bakery, a famous bakery around these parts. And in a recent issue, they featured a recipe for chocolate and apricot cookies. Delicious combination? I think so.

In my version, they get an even sweeter makeover by using white chocolate chips and a handful of candied walnuts, making for a tempting treat for customers at my store!

Of course, if you can't stop by to try them, make the magic happen in your own household: here's my adaptation of the recipe.

White Chocolate and Apricot Cookies

Adapted from Macrina Bakery

Makes 15 jumbo cookies, or up to 36 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground espresso or coffee
  • 10 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup apricots, diced
  • a generous handful of candied walnuts (optional)
  • 8 ounces butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (original recipe called for half white and half brown, but I only had white--still tasty)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Procedure 

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and espresso in a medium bowl. Mix with a whisk until evenly distributed. Add chocolate chips and apricot bits and mix well. Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and pale in color. Add 1 egg at a time, mixing until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add the vanilla. Continue mixing until butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are all incorporated (about 1 minute). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions. Mix on low speed for no more than 1 minute. Remove bowl from mixture and do a final mix with a rubber spatula.
  4. Remove from bowl and chill for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  6. Scoop dough with a medium-sized ice cream scoop to form 1-inch balls. Leave at least an inch and a half around each cookie to allow for some spreading.
  7. Bake cookies for 15-18 minutes, turning about halfway to ensure even baking. Cookies should be golden at the edges but soft in the middle.
  8. These cookies will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

 

Wednesday
Jun162010

Wild Oats: Oatsies Recipe From Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Pop Quiz: when faced with the prospect of imminent Oatsies, the proper reaction is:

A. Panic--you must run from this menace!

B. Dread--you're definitely going to need to visit the doctor.

C. A world-weary sigh--you don't need this today.

D. Delight--you're faced with the prospect of a delicious treat!

Of course, anyone who knows Oatsies knows that the answer is D: you are faced with the prospect of a delicious treat. But for those who may not be in the know, let me share with you what exactly what an oatsie is, from my BFF cookbook, Betty Crocker's Cooky Book:

A delicious caramel-like oat confection topped with chocolate. Shared with us by Charlotte Johnson of our staff, who makes them often for her college-student son and daughter.

And a most sincere thanks to Ms. Johnson, wherever she may be, for these are indeed a treat to be treasured: sweet, lightly salty, nutty, oaty, caramelly, and extremely addictive.

Oatsies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (recipe calls for dark; I used light because it is what I had)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate pieces (I used these nice fat chips)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix oats and sugar in a large, heatproof bowl (you'll need to pour a hot mixture over it soon).
  3. Melt butter; add syrup, salt, and vanilla. Pour over the oats and sugar; mix well.
  4. Pat mixture into a greased square pan (I used 8x8-inches).
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes--do not overbake! (How do you know it's done? It will be lightly bubbling on the sides)
  6. Melt chocolate and spread on top--or, if you're like me and don't read directions thoroughly, just sprinkle on the chocolate pieces and let them melt on the still-hot mixture.
  7. Sprinkle nuts on top of this, and let cool (or, again, like me, don't follow the directions and eat immediately. Messy, but tasty). You'll need a pretty sharp knife to cut these, as they're pretty sticky. Happily, I have a sharp and fancy knife called the "Jessica" (like me!) with which I can do these things.
Wednesday
Jun162010

Lovely Leche: Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

When I encountered the recipe for Dulce de Leche Cheesecake bars in last month's issue of Bon Appetit, my eyes got really big and I think I probably said something like "Whoa".

After a brief moment of despair at having no graham crackers or cream cheese in the house, I found myself wondering "could this work with peanut butter and Reese's Puffs cereal instead?". And so I made said substitutions, and found myself with a pretty tasty treat. They could have chilled longer to set, but friends had no problem dealing with the dulce de leche ooze.

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

Crust

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 1/4 cups finely ground Reese's Puffs cereal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

Filling

 

  • 1 16-ounce jar peanut butter (preferably smooth, full-fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup purchased dulce de leche
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

Glaze

 

  • 2/3 cup purchased dulce de leche
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) heavy whipping cream
  • (optional) a spoonful of hot fudge sauce

 

Procedure

 

  1. Make the Crust. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray (I used an 8x8-inch pan for fat, thick bars). Mix cereal crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until coated. Transfer crumb mixture to pan. Press evenly onto bottom of pan. Bake until crust is light golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on rack.
  2. Make the Filling. Blend peanut butter and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time, processing 3 to 5 seconds to blend between additions. Add dulce de leche and vanilla; process until blended, about 10 seconds. Spread batter evenly over cooled crust. Bake until just set in center and edges are puffed and slightly cracked, about 38 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
  3. Make the Glaze. Heat dulce de leche, 3 tablespoons cream and chocolate sauce (if using) in microwave-safe bowl in 10-second intervals until melted. Stir to blend, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if too thick to pour (amount of cream needed will depend on brand of dulce de leche). Pour glaze over cooled baked mixture; spread evenly. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour (glaze will not be firm). Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; keep chilled. Sprinkle bars with fleur de sel.

 

Tuesday
Jun152010

Belle of the Ball: Coconut Belles from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book

At first glance, Coconut Belles don't look like anything out of the ordinary: they look like a pleasing, if unremarkable, bar cookie.

But don't be fooled. The Coconut Belle one coy little cookie bar. I found them in the "family favorites" section of Betty Crocker's Cooky Book, where this cryptic introduction drew me in:

Since this cooky is better the second day than the day it is baked, you must bake them yesterday to enjoy them today.

True to the intro, these cookies taste good just out of the oven, but become something else entirely when left to their own flavor-melding devices overnight: delicately scented with citrus and redolent of rich coconut, these cookies taste far more compelling than their appearance might imply.

Of course, if you bake them around midnight, does that mean they were baked close enough to yesterday to enjoy today? Customers at the store will see.

Coconut Belles

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (I used lemon juice)
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped candied orange peel

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, lemon, and cream thoroughly.
  3. Measure flour and mix with salt and baking powder; stir into wet mixture.
  4. Blend in the coconut and peel.
  5. Spread in a lightly greased pan (I used 8x8-inch). If desired, sprinkle extra coconut on top.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. While warm, cut into bars. Serve cooled (the next day is best).
Monday
Jun142010

Seeing Red: Cocoa Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake for Serious Eats

So, today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. How are you celebrating?

My suggestion? Don your Strawberry Shortcake cartoon character tee from the 1980s, work up an appetite, and make a big batch of Red Velvet Strawberry Shortcake.

The biscuits in this version take a flavor (and, if desired, color) cue from the classic Southern cake, making use of buttermilk, cocoa and red food coloring, which lends a subtle sweetness which works wonderfully with freshly made whipped cream and strawberries, and makes for a very pretty presentation.

Read more--and find the recipe--on Serious Eats!

Saturday
Jun122010

Nut'n Honey: Honey Peanut Butter Refrigerator Cookies

You probably don't think of peanut butter cookies as a slice-and-bake refrigerator cookie, but you should.

I was immediately intrigued when I discovered this recipe in my beloved Betty Crocker's Cooky Book. And, upon testing out the recipe, ultimately rewarded. These cookies have all of the sweet-and-salty flavor that make peanut butter cookies so deliciously addictive, but with a subtle, mellow dimension from the honey, and a more delicate texture than their classic counterpart. The verdict? These fat, chewy, and lightly crumbly cookies are beyond welcome to co-exist peacefully with the flattened-by-fork tines variety in my cookie jar.

And based on how quickly they disappeared when I put them out at my shop, I'd say that the public agrees. Well, either that, or people will eat anything when it's free.

Note: The original recipe calls for 2/3 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts. I split the difference and used a cup-and-a-bit extra of chunky peanut butter--this kind, if you're curious. Also, I used more baking powder than specified in the original recipe.

Honey Peanut Butter Refrigerator Cookies

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

- Makes about 30 cookies -

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey or corn syrup (I used honey)
  • 1 cup (and maybe a spoonful extra) chunky peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Procedure

  1. Mix butter, sugar, honey, peanut butter, and egg thoroughly.
  2. Mix your remaining dry ingredients together, and then stir in bit by bit to your wet ingredient mix. If it is too dry, add a few drops of milk or cream until it is cohesive.
  3. Roll into a couple of logs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter; wrap in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 400 F. Cut dough in fat slices (I did about 1/2 inch) and place about 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until lightly brown on the edges. Let cool for about 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Wednesday
Jun092010

Shake Me Up Before You Go Go: The Red Velvet Cake Shake

There's a reason why you've never tried a Red Velvet Cake Shake. 

That reason, of course, is that the recipe relies on you having an extra slice of Red Velvet laying around, and as anyone knows, this is a highly unlikely occurrence.

However, after this weekend's Red Velvet Cake tasting, I found myself in such an unlikely situation. And given some time to consider it, a beautiful phrase came to mind: Red Velvet Cake Shake. Could it possibly be as good as it sounded?

The answer, of course, is yes. This shake is basically made of awesome: it has tangy cream cheese frosting, rich, moist cake, and sweet, creamy ice cream--all mixed into one pretty pink parfait.

Of course, if your instinct is to cry "too much", I do have a suggestion: call it a smoothie. No, this doesn't actually alter the recipe, but don't you feel healthier already?

Red Velvet Cake Shake

Ingredients 

  • 1 slice Red Velvet Cake
  • 2 big--and I mean big--scoops of ice cream (I used strawberry; I think that vanilla would also work well)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups milk

Procedure

Put all of the ingredients in a blender. Blend until the shake has reached your desired consistency--shorter if you like little bits of cake in your shake, longer if you like a smoother texture. Add more ice cream for a thicker shake, more milk for a thinner one, as needed.

Tuesday
Jun082010

Sweet Loafing: Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips Recipe from Cake Gumshoes Denise and Steve

When readers Denise and Steve came into my store, they told me that they had been on a 30 mile bike ride that morning. My response was something along the lines of an aghast "on purpose?". But I quickly forgave them for their inherent sportiness, because guess what: they brought me banana bread. With big ol' chunks of chocolate. Even the vaguely healthy applesauce in its construction couldn't cancel out that decadence.

Well, Mr. Spy and I deemed this an ideal breakfast bread, and I eagerly set to recreating the magic in my own kitchen, this time made with butter, chunks of milk chocolate, and a mix of walnuts and pecans. I really don't have to tell you it was delicious, do I?

It's a very easy recipe to personalize and make your own; here's Denise's base recipe so you can choose your own adventure with it.

Oh, and by the way, here's the cute custom painting I did for Denise and Steve while we talked about our favorite pastries!

Dense, Delicious Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

With serious thanks to Denise and Steve

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour, or you can do a mix of 3/4 c white flour and 3/4 c wheat flour)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (kosher salt is okay too)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c mashed banana (3-4 very ripe, Denise usually uses 4 for extra moist
  • bread!)
  • 1 c sugar (can reduce to 3/4 c, or 1/2 c)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c melted, cooled butter (I use canola oil, or a heaping 1/3 c apple sauce to be really healthy! and do use a little extra apple sauce to keep bread moist)
  • (optional) 2/3 c chopped nuts (I used a mix of pecans or walnuts)
  • 2/3 c chocolate chips for banana chocolate chip bread (Denise lists this as optional--I vote necessary)

Procedure

  1. Mix all of the above together in a big bowl. Don't overmix--just mix until incorporated.
  2. Bake at 325 degrees F for around an hour, check center with toothpick; if toothpick comes out clean, it's done.
Sunday
Jun062010

Sweet Surrender: A Red Velvet Smackdown and Tasting with Lorna Yee and Jackie Baisa at CakeSpy Shop

It began, as so many excellent things do, on Twitter.

Upon rhapsodizing about the most excellent Red Velvet Cake from Seattle's Kingfish Cafe, Lorna Yee responded with what can only be described as fighting words: "My red velvet cake is better". 

Now, as Red Velvet challengers go, Lorna Yee is a formidable one: her recipe comes from her recently published book, The Newlywed Kitchen (which contains this recipe for Chocolate Mudslide cookies, btw), has received rave reviews.

The only way to figure out this battle? A Red Velvet Smackdown, natch! 

With the Kingfish Red Velvet Cake in one corner, and Lorna's Red Velvet in the other, we set up a tasting at CakeSpy Shop, with talented photographer Jackie Baisa to document every sweet minute. Of course, cute husbands Danny (aka Mr. CakeSpy) and Henry were on hand to help out.

Lorna was also kind enough to bring a large batch of cupcakes to share with customers at the shop. She ran out of red food coloring at a certain point, so a lucky few actually got Blue Velvet Cupcakes.

So how did these ladies in red stack up?

Well, on the one hand you've got the Kingfish Cafe Red Velvet, which is something of a Seattle standard. It's dense, it's sweet, it's rich...but depending on what day you buy it, sometimes it can be a little dry. Still, I wouldn't kick it out of bed for leaving delicious little crumbs.

But then you've got Lorna's triple-threat of awesome. Equally dense and rich, this is nonetheless a very different cake, with pronounced contrasting flavors: a very tangy and only lightly sweet, very cream cheese-y frosting and a rich, extremely moist cocoa-infused cake. All of the tasters, who were cut generous slices, zeroed right in on the compelling flavor contrast, and were more than happy to wax poetic about the sweet subtleties in flavor--but perhaps even more telling, everybody cleaned their plate. 

Lorna Yee and very cool kid IrisSimilarly, customers who came in and sampled the cupcakes were thrilled with their sweet treats, and Lorna not only sold through her stock of books but also raided nearby Elliott Bay Books for more.

The final word? You should still order the cake if you go to Kingfish, but for your next special occasion, bake the one from Lorna's book. People will remember and love you for it.Jackie Baisa, Lorna Yee, CakeSpy

Want to see more awesome photos of this event? Visit Baisa Fotograferie (photos coming soon!)

For Lorna's Triple Red Velvet Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, visit her site, The Cookbook Chronicles!

Saturday
Jun052010

Pucker Up: Delicious Lemon Meringue Cupcake Recipe from Cake Gumshoe Megan Seling

On the occasion of her recent birthday, Megan Seling provided a dessert spread of epic proportions at her party.

And while usually I would object that the birthday girl shouldn't have to lift a finger on her special day, opting to simply eat cakes that others have made, I have to admit that as a guest, I was kind of glad that she did. Because it was a most delicious spread.

And the highlight of the table? In my humble spy's opinion, the Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. Made of a light cake filled with lightly tart and very flavorful lemon curd, these cakes were capped with a punk rocker hairstyle of a meringue topping which tasted just as good as it looked.

And happily, she was willing to share the recipe, which she got here, which I am now passing on to you. You're welcome. It can also be found in the book Cake Art.

Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 large egg whites

Lemon Curd

  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 10 large egg yolks

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar

Procedure

Prepare the Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare pans with cupcake liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, and half the sugar together into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer and reserve. In another large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, combine the egg yolks, oil, water, vanilla, and zest. Mix with a handheld mixer or whip attachment until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg yolk mixture gradually to the dry ingredients, mixing with a handheld mixer or whip attachment on medium speed until a paste forms. When a paste has formed, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue adding the remainder of the yolk mixture until it is all incorporated. Beat for an additional 2 minutes on medium speed. In a separate mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl, whip the egg whites with a clean whip attachment on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar while beating the egg whites and continue to beat until medium peaks form. Gently blend one-third of the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture to lighten it. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake at 375°F until the top of the cupcakes spring back to the touch, about 20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling before decorating.

Prepare Lemon Curd. Combine half of the butter, half of the sugar, the lemon juice, and zest and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, blend the egg yolks with the remaining sugar. Temper the mixture by gradually adding about one-third of the lemon juice mixture, stirring constantly with a whip. Return the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the whisk leaves a trail in the curd. Remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining butter. Strain the curd into a shallow container or bowl. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the curd. Cool over an ice bath. Store the curd, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Prepare Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Put the egg whites and sugar in the clean, grease-free bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and stir together until the sugar is blended into the egg whites. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir frequently until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches 140°F. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and beat on high speed until the meringue is thick and glossy and has a stiff peak.

Finish the cupcakes. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large plain tip two-thirds full with lemon curd. Insert the tip as far as it will go inside the center of the cupcake and apply gentle pressure. Try not to squeeze too hard or lemon curd will squirt out the top of the cupcake. Stop filling once you see any lemon curd around the base of the tip. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes. Clean the piping bag and tip and fill it two-thirds full with Swiss meringue. Pipe a large pearl of meringue on top of each cupcake. Use the back of a spoon to lift up areas of the meringue, creating spikes. Lightly toast the meringue with a kitchen torch or under the broiler until the tips of the meringue are golden brown.

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