Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes and Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting



Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes


I was in need of a quick treat for Greg to take to scouts--I'm always looking for a reason to make a chocolate morsel and 11 year old boys usually are game. Time was short and I had a bowl of chocolate frosting in the fridge. We were out of graham crackers.
I really have nothing against cake mixes, used them for years. But I'm getting to be a chocolate snob in my old age and I really don't know what is in that little red box! I also did not want 36 cupcakes to dispose of so... Dorie Greenspan to the rescue (again). Her Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes did not disappoint! I had everything and the recipe made 12 cupcakes--perfect!
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl beat the butter till soft and creamy. Add sugar and beat 2 minutes, add egg and egg yolk beating for 1 minute after each addition, add vanilla. Slowly add half the dry ingredients mixing just till moistened, add buttermilk mixing until incorporated. Scrape down bowl and mix in remaining dry ingredients. Add melted chocolate and mix with rubber scraper. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups lined with papers (I like the cute foil liners).
Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. The tops will be dry and springy! Cool before frosting (this means quickly putting them in the freezer for 10 minutes--always in a hurry).


The Best Chocolate Frosting Ever

This is the only chocolate frosting you will ever need, it's that good. It is yummy on brownies, cake, cupcakes and graham crackers too! And it is easy, Daurene wrote on my Facebook Wall that she liked easy recipes--so this one is for you Daurene!
1 cup semi sweet chocolate pieces that's about 6 ounces. I like Ghirardelli. If I can't find Ghirardelli chocolate chips I will chop up a semi-sweet baking bar. Please don't cheat and use milk chocolate or cheap chocolate--you can, it just won't be wonderful!
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Melt chocolate and butter over low heat or in the micro--watch carefully as it scorches easily. In my old age I can't multi-task. So when I melt chocolate, I melt chocolate! Sad but true, now I am telling family secrets. Let mixture cool for a few minutes then add sour cream, I can however measure the sour cream and powdered sugar while the chocolate is cooling, so I guess all is not lost. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat till smooth. It's delicious! This would probably make enough for 24 cupcakes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pizza Madness



The pizza madness started on a visit to Chicago. Our daughter Amber and hubby Tadd would have 'pizza night', we started early in preparation for the work ahead. We chopped, diced, sliced and shredded. We kneaded dough and Tadd made a yummy fragrant sauce. The oven was torched to 500 and the fun began!! We rolled--some tossed and all made their own pizza. It was a fun night that stretched for hours, the pizza was the activity. No one kept track of how many pizzas we made and ate, after all they are small....each creation was as unique as its creator. Amber and Tadd brought Pizza night to Utah. I think Tadd cooked pizza for about 4 hours one night at Grammy's. We had a crowd of hungry cousins! Pizza night continues at the Linderman home, the Springers have a new pizza tradition thanks to Amber and I have even scaled back the recipe so it can be made by a couple of empty nesters. Anyway you make it it's delicious. Use the freshest ingredients available, fresh basil is a must, a little bit of fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano will go along way. Have fun with this recipe---make it a family affair!
Here is the scaled down version, it makes about 6 small pizzas. I make my dough in my food processor:

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 teaspoons yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm tap water
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Put everything but liquid in food processor bowl and whirl. Using dough hook slowly pour in water and oil, let mix about 1 minute. Put in oiled bowl, cover and let rise about 2 hours.


Preheat oven to 525 with a baking stone inside. Let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes.

On a pizza peel flatten about 1/6 of the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Make the dough as thick or thin as you like--we like ours very thin!!

Top with sauce, sprinkle with cheese and toppings.


Slide the pizza from the peel into the hot oven and bake about 8-10 minutes.
Sprinkle hot pizza with chiffonade (thinly sliced) basil. Cool a moment--it's hot



Tadd's Pizza Sauce
1 28 ounce CRUSHED Tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
Saute garlic in oil till fragrant, add sauce, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh pepper. Simmer 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings, may add some basil or a little sugar. This is a great easy sauce.


Jill's Easy Sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can water
1-2 Tablespoons Pampered Chef Italian Seasoning
a little sugar, stir all together and it's ready to use!

Surprise Cookies


My daughter Amber was kind enough to send me the Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook. I love cookbooks, I read them like novels! This is a great cookbook it has beautiful photography, fun packaging ideas and great recipes.
Put it on your birthday or Mothers Day wish list. My kids love it when I have a wish list--then they don't have to hack into my Amazon or Endless shopping cart!
Enough chatter, great recipe, I did make a few adjustments for altitude--as I am baking at 5000 feet.

Surprise Cookies
1 ¾ cup flour (add 2 tablespoons for high altitude)
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt
½ cup butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ cup whole milk
1 t. vanilla
About 15 large marshmallows halved crosswise

1. Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in bowl
2. Mix butter and sugar until fluffy (about two min). Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined
3. Using a 1 ¾ inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper
4. Bake on 375 for 8-10 minutes
5. Immediately press marshmallow halves on top of each cookie and bake 1 more minute
6. Frost cooled cookies with one tablespoon of frosting.
7. Store in air tight containers (if you have any left!!)
Frosting:
4 cups powdered sugar
6 T. butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
6 T. milk
¾ t vanilla
Melt butter and cocoa. Add to powdered sugar. Whisk in milk and vanilla.
*Adapted from ‘Martha Stewarts Cookies’
Printable Recipe












Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wedding Chicken




One year for Christmas we put together a small family cookbook; everyone was to submit their favorite recipes. Wedding Chicken was submitted by most everyone--it is that good! Candise had it at a wedding luncheon, hence the name, "Wedding Chicken".

When I think of 'comfort food' this recipe fits the bill. Max loved it so much that he would hurry home from school during lunch and have a big plate.

Wedding Chicken comes together quickly, I would put it in my 30-minute meal category. It is delicious over brown rice, white rice, noodles or Max's favorite mashed potatoes. Yes, this has comfort written all over it! Now Max is on a mission we do have a leftover problem!!



WEDDING CHICKEN 

5-6 chicken tenders (purchased at Costco) cut in 1/2 inch cubes
3 tablespoons flour
3 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Combine in a plastic bag and coat chicken.
2-3 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves—minced
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Melt butter, add coated chicken and sauté until brown. Add onions, mushrooms and garlic; sauté about 3 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes until chicken is cooked and sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Add additional broth if needed for desired thickness. Garnish with parsley.
Serve over rice, noodles or potatoes.
Edited to make 4 portions.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Strawberry Spinach Salad



It is still winter in Utah but the Strawberries at the grocery store remind me that spring has to be on its way! My favorite springy salad comes from a Pampered Chef Cookbook (unavailable). I have modified the original recipe a bit and it is delicious!


STRAWBERRY SPINACH SALAD



Dressing: 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Mix zest and juice with 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds. Refrigerate.


Salad: ¼ cup toasted almond slices ( I used sugared almonds), 2 cups sliced strawberries, 1 medium sliced cucumber, ¼ cup sliced red onion and 1 pkg. baby spinach (6 ounces.) Mix all salad ingredients and toss with dressing just before serving. This yummy salad is low in fat and high in taste. You will love it!

To make sugared almonds mix together 1 cup desired nut and ¼ cup sugar, cook over medium/high heat stirring constantly. Sugar will melt and caramelize, watch closely, pour on buttered plate, separate while hot.

Linked to That Skinny Chick Can Bake Blog Hop--SaladsGreenLove

Sunday, February 15, 2009

It is official--I am a blogger!






What better way to start a blog than with Dorie Greenspan's Perfect Party Cake. This recipe comes from my new favorite cookbook;


Baking, From My Home to Yours.


This cookbook is a keeper! I have used it over and over and am glad I own it! I even had a question about one of the recipes and the author, Dorie, answered my e-mail!


So here is 'The Perfect Party Cake'! We are celebrating my sweet mother-in-laws birthday today and she does deserve the Perfect Party Cake!


Happy Birthday Geneel!


This Party Cake combines layers of delicious lemon cake, raspberry filling and yummy Swiss Meringue Butter Cream. It is heavenly. This recipe alone is worth the price of the book. So hop on over to Amazon and order this great cookbook--while you are waiting just google 'Perfect Party Cake' and you will find the detailed recipe.


Trust me on this one!