Search This Blog

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

I made these muffins last week and brought them to school for a morning meeting. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make the batter ahead of time, keep it in the refrigerator, and bake them right before serving. This saved me a lot of time and made it so that I didn't have to wake up at 6am to make them... hugely helpful!

The consistency of these was phenomenal- absolutely the best of any muffin I've made before. They were light and fluffy and perfect. The batter was lacking a bit of flavor, so I've adjusted the recipe to add a bit more. I also made a small amount of cinnamon/sugar streusel topping to give these an extra crunch. Yum. Adapted from Cook's Illustrated. Yields 12-15 muffins.

- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups plain whole milk yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 cups blueberries, plus 1 tablespoon flour

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.

Add the lemon zest and vanilla to the yogurt, and stir to combine.

Reduce the mixer to medium-low and beat in half of the flour mixture, followed by one-third of the yogurt mixture. Then pour in half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by one-third of the yogurt mixture, then finish with the rest of the flour and the rest of the yogurt, mixing just until combined. Do NOT overbeat.

Mix the 1 tablespoon of flour with the blueberries and toss to coat. Pour the blueberries into the batter and slowly fold to combine. If baking immediately, pour into prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with streusel topping (recipe below). Bake at 375 degrees for 20-28 minutes until lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, let cool on rack and serve hot!

** If NOT baking immediately, pour finished batter into an air-tight container and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with streusel topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool on rack and serve hot!

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

In a small bowl mix together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the pieces of butter and using a fork or your fingers mix together until mixture resembles a coarse grain. Sprinkle on top of un-baked muffins.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Frosting(s)!

These bad boys were first made by my friend Andrea a few months ago for a birthday celebration. They were SO good. The original recipe suggests an orange glaze on top, which was absolutely phenomenal. I would recommend that as well as the orange cream cheese topping that was made for these cupcakes for the bridal shower. I will give both recipes, so you can choose which icing you'd rather have. From Gourmet, 2007.

- 2 cups grated carrot
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together the dry ingredients, including the spices in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into lined cupcake tins. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.

Orange Glaze                                                        
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar                          
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest                          
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice                  
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 2 (8 ounce) blocks of cream cheese, cold
- 1-2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest, plus 3 tablespoons juice

For the glaze, whisk together the above ingredients. Dip each cupcake into glaze and let harden.

For the cream cheese frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high until fluffy and smooth- this will take a few minutes. Add the confectioners sugar to taste. Add the orange zest and juice, and a dash of vanilla, if you choose and beat until combined. Pipe or spread on cooled cupcakes.

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes w/ Buttercream

These cupcakes were also made for the bridal shower that I co-hosted this past weekend. The bride has been very into lemon cakes recently, and so the co-host and I decided we'd give these a whirl. We used Martha Stewart's lemon cupcake recipe for the base, added our own lemon glaze, followed by raspberry jam, and finished each with a swirl of vanilla buttercream. The frosting is very sweet, but perfectly balanced by the tartness of the lemon flavor. These were a DELICIOUS.

- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk

Lemon Glaze
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons sugar

Vanilla Buttercream
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

With an electric mixer of medium speed cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Beat in zest and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk and lemon juice, beating just until combined. Divide evenly into muffin tins and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven.

While in the oven, make the lemon glaze. If the sugar won't dissolve, microwave the mixture and stir until combined and syrupy. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Poke holes in the cupcakes with a tooth pick and brush the lemon glaze on top of the cupcakes, letting the glaze slowly seep into the cake.

With an electric mixer beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly (1/2 cup at a time) add the confectioners sugar, beating until incorporated before adding the next half cup of sugar. After ever 2 additions of sugar, beat on high speed for 10 seconds before returning back to low, and adding more sugar. This process should take about 5 minutes total. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.

Once cupcakes are cooled, spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on top of each cupcake. Pipe buttercream on top of the raspberry layer on each cupcake. Serve and enjoy!

Greek Tortellini Salad

I made this pasta salad the other night for a bridal shower that I was co-hosting... Its an imitation of the tortellini salad at this great panini/gelato spot in downtown Knoxville called Coolato Gelato (arguably the bride's favorite local eatery). If you've never been, you really should. Similarly to all pasta salads, this one is infinitely adaptable and you can add whatever you like to it.

- 1 pound tri-colored cheese tortellini pasta
- 8-10 ounces of good greek salad dressing
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
- a bunch of chopped marinated artichoke hearts
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Boil the pasta, according to directions. Add all the vegetables and feta and about half of the greek salad dressing. Toss to coat. Taste and add extra dressing until you have enough. If you make this in advance, only add half the dressing ahead of time and add the rest of the dressing right before serving. Also wait to add the tomatoes, so they don't get soggy. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Smokey Lentil Soup with Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

This is a recipe that I found from a William Sonoma recipe section of their most recent catalog. They suggest that you make this in one of those classic William-Sonoma-One-Purpose-Gadgets where its a pot/blender/soup bowl/waste of money all in one... Yeaaa, I just did it the old fashioned way with separate appliances. Worked juuuuust fine. Both the soup AND grilled-cheese were great and I would serve each together or separately again!

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, 1/4 inch dice
1 celery stalk, 1/4 inch dice
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 cup split red lentils, rinsed
1/3 cup diced canned tomatoes, drained
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
sour cream
3 strips bacon, crumbled (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the vegetables, tomato paste and paprika. Cook covered, stirring every few minutes, until vegetables have softened- about 25 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on medium-low for about 35-40 minutes, until lentils are softened. Pour into a blender and blend briefly. Pour back into pot and reheat until ready to serve. Add the vinegar and taste for salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with sour cream and crumbled bacon on top. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 yellow onion, sliced
8 slices sourdough bread (for 4 sandwiches)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon dijon mustard, stirred into butter
8 ounces gruyere, sliced thin
3/4 cup arugula

Heat the olive oil in a large grill-pan and caramelize the onions (will take about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and wipe the pan with a paper towel. Brush the outside pieces of each sandwich bread with olive oil. Brush the insides with the butter/dijon mixture. Layer gruyere on the inside of the sandwich, followed by caramelized onion, and then more gruyere. Put the other piece of bread on top and place in heated grill pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and open sandwich, quickly placing arugula inside. Place bread back on top and cut sandwiches in half. Serve with soup.