Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Buttermilk Biscuits


Everyone needs an easy, go-to biscuit recipe. I've made several biscuit recipes for the blog (Type "biscuit" in the search bar to see them all!) And, I keep coming back to this one.
It's classic, it's easy, it's flaky, and it's delicious.
All the things a good biscuit should be. 
I tend to use butter for my biscuits but you can sub shortening for an even flakier biscuit. 
Give them a try - you'll see why I use this as my go-to. I still attempt other recipes just out of curiosity BUT I'm saving this one forever, 
and ever...
and ever...
P.S. - this makes a fairly large batch but is easily halved. 


Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients
4 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
pinch salt
4 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup butter, cold (or shortening will work)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 450. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside. 
In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cream of tartar. 
Cut in the cold butter (or shortening) using a pastry blender or 2 butter knives. (NOTE - You can also pulse the dry ingredients and butter briefly in a food processor/blender) Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs. 
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix.
Roll or pat out dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Fold the dough in half and gently press to 1 inch thickness. (Folding the dough will result in the lovely split in the biscuit so it is easy to pull apart.)
Cut out dough using a sharp edged cookie or biscuit cutter.
Re-roll the scraps to 1 inch thickness and cut out as many more biscuits as you can get. (If you re-roll more than once your biscuits will start to get tough!)


Place on prepared cookie sheet.
Bake at 450 until biscuits are risen and tops are golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and serve warm or room temp.


Biscuits can be frozen and reheated and are almost as good as fresh out of the oven!


Don't forget the melty butter on top.
*so gooooood*
I got about 2 dozen biscuits out of this recipe using a 2.5 inch biscuit cutter. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Maple Bacon Bites


Wow. It has been a long time since we've done a blog. 
Life just gets a little crazy sometimes!
Anyway.... we thought we would come back and share these crazy maple bacon treats and try to get back in the swing of things! 
Why should you try these pretty little bad boys? Well.... bacon for one. And maple for two.
I think I've made my point. 
Make these in a tiny pan for the bite sized version - or in a tart pan for a slice-able version.


Either way... you win.


Maple Bacon Bites
(Ever-so-slightly adapted from Shugary Sweets

Ingredients
Base
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
pinch salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 cups icing sugar
1 tsp maple extract
2 Tbsp milk

Topping
Bacon, cooked and broken into pieces

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a miniature tart muffin pan with cooking spray (or tart pan - or 9 inch pan) Set aside.
Prepare base - In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar together until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla and maple. Lastly, mix in salt and flour until well combined. 
Drop evenly into mini muffin pan OR spread into prepared tart/8 inch pan. 


Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean and top is lightly brown.


Let cool 10 minutes then gently remove to completely cool on wire rack.


Let cool to room temp before preparing frosting.


Prepare frosting - In a mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Slowly beat in icing sugar a little at a time, maple extract, and milk. If too thick - add a little more milk. If too thin - add a little more icing sugar to get to spreadable consistency. 
Pipe or spread the frosting on top of the base.


You can make it as fancy as you like....


Now either crumble the bacon on top...


Or press a larger piece into each bite...


To fancy it up a little more (but also make it sweeter - FYI) you can drizzle a little maple syrup on top.


Totally not necessary though. It just adds a little somethin' somethin'.


Refrigerate until ready to serve.
If you are going to make them ahead and freeze them - just leave the bacon off  and freeze them frosted. When ready to serve, top with the cooked bacon after you thaw the bites and you are good to go. 


Update - We served these adorable mini maple bacon bites at our nephew's fiance's bridal shower along with some mini scones and they were a big hit. Perfect for so many occasions! 


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Eggless Honey Cake (Indian Bakery Style)


I love trying new recipes when they lead to delicious and super pretty results.
I was searching for an Indian dessert to make for a birthday at my office and a coworker found this one for me at Rak's Kitchen (HERE). 
It is a dense, yet light, sweet, but not too sweet, wonderful combinations of orange and honey and coconut. It will have you breaking out your jazz hands multiple times. 
In case I haven't convinced you to try it yet, let me just add - it is also perfect for those times you wants something a little different, plus it is super easy to make, and holds in the fridge for a couple of days very well. 


Eggless Honey Cake
(Indian Bakery Style)

Ingredients
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp orange zest
2 cans condensed milk minus 1/4 cup
1 cup oil
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla

Syrup
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey

Topping
1/2 cup jam
fine coconut

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 X 13 dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray, set aside. 
Prepare cake - In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together condensed milk, oil, orange juice, icing sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. 
Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined. Spread in prepared pan.


Bake at 350 until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean - about 30 or so minutes. Top will be golden brown.
Remove from oven and let completely cool. You can place it in the fridge to speed the process. 
When cool, remove the cake from the pan and place on a flat surface. Cut into squares. 


Prepare the syrup - In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar. Bring to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes, stir very infrequently - maybe only 2 or 3 times. 
After 5 minutes, remove from heat and let cool until syrup is warm. Whisk in honey until smooth. (Don't whisk the honey into hot syrup - do it only when the syrup has cooled to warm.) 
Spoon the syrup over the cake.
Turn each piece of cake to one side and spoon more syrup over it. 
Turn each piece to the other side and, once again, spoon on a little more syrup. Repeat until all pieces have been done. 
Prepare topping - Briefly heat jam in the microwave for 20 - 30 seconds, just enough to melt it a bit. (You can also do this in a small saucepan over medium heat for a few minutes)
Using the back of a spoon (or basting brush), spread the jam over the top of the cake pieces until well coated.


Pour the finely shredded coconut into a shallow dish. Take a piece of cake and gently roll it in the coconut to coat each side.


When all pieces are coated you can serve the cake or chill, covered, until ready to serve. (I prefer it chilled)


I used plum jam but you can use whichever flavor is your favorite!


Isn't it sooooo purdy....


It tastes as good as it looks too.


You can visit Rak's Kitchen for the original version of this cake (HERE). I made some very small changes to make it a 9 X 13 and, as I studied a few videos online, I followed some of those instructions to make this version. 


Now that I have made this once I can guarantee that it will be made again and again. 
Definitely destined to become a favorite around here. 



Saturday, April 30, 2016

People Sliders


Why am I posting a spooooky Halloween-ish recipe in the spring, you may ask. 
Well, truth is I completely forgot about this adorable little monster until going through my old photos. 
Once I saw him again I knew I had to post the recipe before I forgot about it again!!
I mean... you can eat people sliders all year long. You don't have to wait for Halloween. These would be perfect for a monster party.
Plus... they are vegetarian so you aren't even eating any meat. (Pssst - it's beets. For real.)
No people were harmed in the making of these burgers, I promise.


People Sliders (or Monster Burgers)

Ingredients
Ingredients for our Easy Bread Dough
1 cup shredded jalapeno jack cheese (optional)

Ingredients for our Beet And Quinoa Burgers

sesame seeds
poppy seeds
white cheese
mustard
slivered almonds
blue food coloring or edible ink

Directions
Make slider buns - Prepare dough as per link HERE, (remembering to add the 1 cup of shredded jalapeno jack cheese, if desired.) up to the point where you let the dough rest for 15 minutes. 
After dough has rested, roll into slider sized buns, just a little larger than a golf ball. Place several inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Cover and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour. 


Preheat oven to 375. 
After dough has risen, bake at 375 until tops are brown and dough is cooked through, about 20 - 30 minutes - keep an eye on it.


Let cool. (Note - sliders can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed.)
Prepare people patties as per recipe HERE. Instead of forming into "regular" hamburger patty shapes, simply use a gingerbread man cookie cutter as a form to make your people patties. 
Try to use a cookie cutter a little smaller than your slider buns so the people fit in the mouths of the monsters. 


These can also be  made up a little ahead of time and kept, covered, in the fridge for a day. 
When ready to cook, simply preheat your oven to 400. 
Place people patties on a parchment paper lined cookie tray, and bake for 10 minutes. Very carefully flip the patties over and continue to bake at 400 for another 10 - 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve hot on slider buns. 


Decorate the buns with cheese cut into circles for eyes. The pupils are blue food coloring but you could easily use edible food pens. 


You can use slivered almonds for teeth, if you like. And a little mustard for "x"s for eyes. 


You can cut a slice of cheese to look like teeth.


Or stick a couple of thin cheese triangles on for fangs, using a teeny bit of mustard as the "glue". 
I made the slider buns from scratch as, living in the small town of Lillooet, we don't have access to store bought ones. If you have them available to you then by all means you can pick up a pack of tiny slider buns and save yourself the work of homemade bread (although, it does make them tastier, IMO). 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Basbousa


I've been looking for Egyptian and Middle Eastern sweets recently to make for new doctors at my work place. I figured I had better practice a few times before making it for them to make sure I could prepare the recipes properly. 
Turns out this was a fabulous idea. 
Practice makes perfect, am I right?
Practice also means eating a lot of delicious treats because, well, quality control obviously. 
Basbousa is my new favorite and NOT just because it's really fun to say. The semolina flour makes for a wonderfully different texture. Plus... it's really easy and quick to whip up which makes me love it even more.


Basbousa
(Ever so slightly adapted from SBS Food) 

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups coarse semolina
1 cup finely shredded coconut
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
blanched almonds

Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9 X 13 pan (or large round tart pan) with parchment paper, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir together semolina, coconut, caster sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. 
In a smaller bowl, whisk together yogurt, butter, and vanilla.


Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well mixed - if it is too dry and crumbly then stir in a bit of milk to bring it together - it should be quite stiff (almost like a cookie dough rather than a cake batter). 


Press it into the prepared 9 X 13 pan (or tart pan). Score squares or diamonds into the dough, pressing very firmly. Top each square (or diamond) with a blanched almond, pressing in firmly.


Bake at 375 for approx 35 - 40 minutes, until top is golden brown. 
Before removing from oven, prepare syrup. 
Prepare syrup - In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stir together the sugar and water until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and let come to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and almond extract. 
Remove cake from oven and place on wire rack. Gently cut along the scored lines while the cake is still in the pan. (DO NOT remove the cake from the pan at this point!)


Slowly drizzle or spoon the hot syrup over the hot cake. It may seem like a lot of syrup but the cake will soak it all up.


Let cool completely. (I find letting it come to room temp then covering it and placing it in the fridge overnight is the best but a couple of hours of soaking in the syrup will also work.)


Once it has sat you can simply run a knife along the score lines again and serve.


A couple of notes - the original version calls for 1 tsp of rosewater in the syrup. Living in a small town I don't have access to this so I subbed in the small amount of almond extract after researching what some good subs would be. Next trip to the city I am picking up some rosewater to try this with. I imagine it would taste that much more authentic!
Also - the caster sugar that is called for in the cake is different than regular white sugar. You can buy it (if you don't live in Lillooet because, why would that be available in Lillooet? *sigh*) OR you can make it yourself VERY VERY VERY easily. Simply place 1 cup of regular white sugar into a blender and pulse until it is fine - 30 seconds of pulsing should about do it. *Voila* substitute caster sugar. It really does make a difference in the cake.