Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gone Bananas! Banana Nut Muffins

So I have a TON of walnuts on my hand and needed some way to start using them.  Spinach salads and mixed into oatmeal worked fine, but then, luckily, Chrissy's bananas got over ripe and she said I could hav them.  So I thought about making banana nut bread! but living in a small apt has its drawbacks, my baking sheets dont fit in my oven and I don't have anything to bake loaves in... I do however have muffin tins! So i found a workable recipe for banana muffins and tweaked it a bit to suit my needs.  I rarely go off recipe... successfully. So here we goooo.....

What you'll need:
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or line with paper baking cups. 
Next, beat together milk, oil, and egg.  

Then add banana and mix well.  

Stir in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, just until mixed.  Batter will be lumpy and very sticky.  

Next fold in walnuts.

Divide evenly among muffin cups.  I used half walnuts to top for decoration :)

  Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.  If baked in a greased pan, let cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire racks.

Dig In!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cookies Cookies Cookies!

Today I made a  ton of cookies. I made them out of a mixture of boredom and because I'm sending Chris a care package. So i made my delicious Oatmeal Craisin with White Chocolate, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, and my first attempt at making Fancy Fortune Cookies.  Unfortunately my brand new baking sheets don't fit in my oven, a fact I learned only after i dolled the dough out... So, tonight's special thanks go out to the guys for letting me take over their kitchen for an hour.  So lets get going!

For the Oatmeal Cookies you'll need:
1 stick plus 6 tbs of softened butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups Oatmeal
1 cup Craisins or chocolate chips

First Preheat your oven to 350.
In a bowl beat together the butter and sugars.

Add the eggs and vanilla next. Beat until creamy.

Add flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. mix well.

Next mix in the oats and craisins/chocolate.

Place in tbs size balls onto your baking sheets.  You may have to get your hands dirty for this step.
Bake for about 11 minutes then let cool on a rack.
After the craisin cookies have cooled. I use white chocolate chips, melted and drizzled on top for an extra little something.

For the Fortune Cookies:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites

In the bowl of a food processor (or in my case magic bullet blender) , combine the flour, sugar, vanilla extract and egg whites.  Process until completely blended and smooth.

Place in a covered container and chill for 1 hour.

While the batter is chilling, you can cut small strips of paper and write your fortunes on them.
Preheat your oven to 400.
Then spoon 1ish tsp of batter in 4 circles onto a greased baking sheet. DO NOT use wax paper, it will melt to your cookies :(  Only bake 3-4 at a time!

sad burnt cookies :(

Bake for about 5 minutes.

Let it cool for only about 20-30 seconds and peel off with a spatula. Make sure the dough is still malleable.

Place the fortune inside and fold in half, then bend the cookie over the edge of a bowl or mug to shape it.  Hold it in place until it cools enough to hold its shape.  If the other cookies harden while you do this you can pop them back in for 10-20 seconds to resoften.

Once they are cool you can use your melted white chocolate to decorate, and maybe some sprinkles!

I used the laft over chocolate to make a white chocolate and sprinkle bark.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crazy Cupcakes

      I found this really cool recipe on another blog and tried it out the other night for my roommates.  Its a recipe meant to make two vanilla cupcakes (because sometimes you dont need a whole batch) but I made 8 mini cupcakes instead.  They turned out really yummy, especially when i put my nutella peanut butter topping (my first  made-by-me recipe for the blog) on top! Let's get started.

Here's what you'll need:
1 egg white
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1.5 tbs milk
1 tbs nutella
1 tbs peanut butter (creamy)
1 tbs milk

OK, first preheat your oven to 350 and spray or line your cupcake tray.
In a bowl, add egg white and sugar and whisk until combined. 

Add in vanilla and melted butter and stir until mixed. 

Add flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth.

 Stir in milk.

Fill your cupcake tray about 3/4 full in each spot (8).

Bake for 10-12 mins.

While they cool you can make your topping.

First mix together your nutella and peanut butter.

Then add your milk and stir until thoroughly combined.  It'll have a pudding-like consistency.

When your cupcakes have cooled you can add the topping and enjoy!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Night Back in SB: Pugs and Pizza

So I'm back in Santa Barbara!! Tonight was the first night I had to cook for myself and I decided to make a pizza. I got to meet a few neighbors to borrow a baking sheet (I have to go buy one very soon!) and to have the guys next door open a jar for me.  They have the cutest little pug puppy named Aphrodite, but I'm getting off topic. So after playing with Aphrodite for a while I got to work.

Here's what you'll need:

1 bag of pre-made pizza dough, cause I'm lazy (I got mine from Trader Joe's)
Tomato Sauce (Mine's garlic and roasted tomato)
Grated Cheese, I recommend Mozarella but i didn't have any :(
Toppings (I used 1 Roma tomato and Cremini mushrooms)
Olive Oil

Ok, First preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Spray your cooking sheet so your dough won't stick.

Then, roll or stretch your dough to fit on your sheet.

Spread a little olive oil over the crust, not too much!
Bake for 5 mins to crisp the crust.

While its baking you can chop up your toppings.

Take it out of the oven and spread your sauce over it in a thin layer.

Then add your cheese and other toppings, I do a layer of cheese, then the other toppings, then another THIN layer of cheese.
Drizzle the top with a little more olive oil.

Finally bake on the bottom rack for 5-10 more mins until the cheese is crispy.

Take out of the oven and Enjoy!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheese Night: Brie en Croute

      So, the other night Chris and I decided to have a fancy cheese night just for kicks.  I'd been wanting to make baked brie for a while and Chris wanted bread and some sort of creamy cheese.  I'd like to give a special thanks to Chris' brother Joey for the tips and recommendations about what to get. Alright, lets get started!

What you'll need:
1 wheel of Brie, I used President brand
1 sheet frozen Puff Pastry
Jam, I used Smuckers Triple Berry
Egg Wash (1 egg yolk and 1 tsp of water)
1 Fresh French Baguette 
1 Wedge of "creamy" cheese, we went with Chevre goat cheese

First, take your cheeses out of the fridge and cut the brie into cubes to get to room temp (another good tip from Joey).

While they're warming up a bit you can get your baguette out.

Then you can cut your bread into slices for your Goat Cheese.

You also need to take the pastry sheet out and thaw it using the directions on the package, usually you can just place it on the counter for 30-40 mins.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Once everything is warmed to the appropriate temperature, you need to get your jam out and spread it into a circle about the size of the brie.

Next, place the brie on top of your circle of jam and put just a little on top of the pieces.

Fold the puff pastry over to cover the brie, trimming the extra.

Make sure to spray your baking sheet before baking.

Flip the brie over onto the sprayed area so that the smooth side is up. Oh yeah, you can use the extra dough to make your dish pretty :)

Next brush the egg wash over the top and sides of your puff pastry. 

 Then bake your brie for 20 minutes.

Let your cheese cool for 20-30 mins before you dig in.

You can also arrange your goat cheese and baguette on a plate and enjoy!

Bon Apetite!!