This page has moved to a new address.

the urban baker

the urban baker: July 2010

the urban baker

The Urban Baker is deliciously photographed blog about nourishing your family's soul through life in the kitchen. The recipes for fabulous savories and sweets are easily replicated and will inspire you.

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Giveaway

The other day I posted about my first "gluten free" dessert.  In one of the photos were these white, porcelain measuring spoons.  I received blog comments and personal emails regarding the spoons.  The spoons were the star of the post.  Don't get me wrong, I am glad you all loved the spoons, but the dessert was pretty fabulous as well!

Since the spoons were so well received I have decided to share them with all of you.  I am in love with these spoons!  I have tons of measuring/baking gear, but there is something about these spoons ( and their matching measuring cups ) that makes baking and cooking all the more special.  I am giving one set of spoons and a set of measuring cups to one lucky Urban Baker Follower!

Here is how to enter:

  • become a follower (maybe you already are) on my site.
  • leave me a comment telling me what your favorite cookie recipe is and where the inspiration came from
  • stop by my facebook page and "LIKE" The Urban Baker. you can leave me a comment there, as well as a second ( two comments per person )comment on this post letting me know you "liked" The Urban Baker on facebook

This Giveaway will be open from today, Friday, July 30th through Monday, August 2nd.  The contest will close on Monday at 11:00 p.m.

There will be an additional treat for the lucky winner!  Good luck.


BBQ Beef Sandwiches

If you want the perfect weekend food, this is it!

Brisket is such a versatile meat.  I like it best, slow cooked.  I make it in the winter time, slow roasted with red wine, orange marmalade, orange zest, garlic and dried herbs.  Yet, in the summer and fall months I like to make it BBQ style and serve it on delicious french bread with a side of Asian Cole Slaw.

The recipe calls for jarred BBQ sauce.  Yet over the past few years I have really become even more conscious of what I am feeding my family.  I have never bought a jarred salad dressing (even in college).  Two reasons why;
  • they taste lousy 
  • there are way too many things in the ingredients list that I can't pronounce.  

And if I can't pronounce it, I am not going to eat it.  I have come to the conclusion that BBQ sauce is no different. I have decided to make my own.  I make a big batch of it and use it for grilling, marinating, roasting and my kids like to dip their oven baked chicken nuggets ( recipe to come ) in it.

I have been making my brisket this way for 20 years and each time I make it it gets rave reviews.  It is a great Sunday evening meal, creating left overs for the next day.  It is also terrific for a big crowd!

BBQ Brisket
yield: lots of sandwiches!

6 - 7 lbs brisket of beef, grass fed
12 oz homemade BBQ sauce
1 large yellow onion, sliced
6 garlic cloves
dash of paprika
dash of garlic salt
1 28 oz. can of whole tomatoes

• preheat oven to 325*
• pat dry the brisket with paper towels.  put in a large dutch oven ( I have a large, oval Le Creuset that I use)
• slice garlic.  make slits in brisket and put slivered garlic in the brisket.  season with garlic salt, paprika, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
• add sliced onion, tomatoes, and homemade BBQ sauce.
• cover pot and put in oven for 3 1/2 - 4 hours.  check it every 45 minutes and baste.
• remove brisket from the pan and let cool to room temp.  once cooled wrap in foil and refrigerate.
• puree all the sauce from the pan and place in a clean container.  put in fridge until ready to use.
• when ready to serve, slice thin and place in a roasting pan.  cover sliced brisket with pureed sauce (save some for slathering on the bread).  cover roasting pan and put in a 250* preheated oven.  heat brisket when for about 25 minutes or until warm to the touch.
• generally, I make the brisket the day before I want to serve it. this is one of those easy meals; put everything in the pot, put in the oven and forget about it!
p.s.  shred the brisket and put it in fresh corn tortillas with a little bit of pickled onions.  so goooood!

BBQ Sauce
yield: 2 1/2 quarts

1 large yellow onion, diced
9 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbls. avocado oil
1 Tbls. lemon zest
5 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
4 1/2 cups organic ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
6 Tbls. molasses
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chili powder
4 Tbls. cider vinegar
1 Tbls. chipotles in adobe, pureed
3 cups water

• heat pan and add oil.  saute onions and garlic until translucent, about 7 minutes.  add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  let cool completely, then refrigerate.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream

Each week, Levi gravitates to the fresh raspberries at our local farmers market.  He insists on buying them claiming to "love them".  He eats 2 or 3 and then he is done.  I pack them in his lunch box and a few stragglers end up coming home with him.  I can't toss them.  So, I either eat them or throw them in a baggie and put them in the freezer.

I had just enough fresh and frozen raspberries to make David Lebovitz's Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream.  Doesn't that sound good?  I haven't made any ice cream this summer and it has been on my mind.  Today, the kids are going to arrive home from camp to a very, very, sweet treat.

This recipe calls for vanilla extract.  Instead, I steeped the cream with a fresh vanilla bean.  I cut the pod in half, scraped out the seeds and threw them in the bowl of cream along with the pod.  When it came time to add the custard to the cream, I removed the pod and saved it to make some vanilla sugar.

This ice cream is a small reminder that summer is here and it is here to stay for just a little while longer.

Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream
adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop
yield: 1 1/2 quarts

ice cream
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (I replaced this with a 1/2 of a vanilla bean, beans scraped from the pod)

raspberry swirl
1 1/2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
3 Tbls. sugar
1 Tbls. vodka

to make the ice cream: 
• warm the milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan.  pour the cream (this is when I added my vanilla bean and pod) into a large bowl.  set a mesh strainer over the top.
• in a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks.  set aside.  slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks.  i add the milk 1/4 of a cup at a time in order to temper the egg yolks.  otherwise you may cook the egg yolks and then you would have to start all over again.  scrape the warm egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan.
• stir the mixture over medium heat until heated and the custard coats the back of your heatproof spatula.
• take the vanilla bean pod ( if using ) out of the cream and set aside.  pour the warm custard through the strainer into the vanilla infused cream.  if not using the vanilla bean, add your vanilla extract here.
• cool over an ice bath.  when cool, chill thoroughly in the fridge.

to make the raspberry swirl:
• mash the raspberries together with the sugar and the vodka.  after mashing, i strained the mixture into a bowl and then re-mashed the fruit.  once finely mashed i added the fruit to the liquid.  chill in the fridge until ready to use.

• churn the cooled custard in your ice cream maker for about 20-30 minutes.  as you remove it from the machine, layer it in your container with spoonfuls of chilled raspberry swirl.  do not mix.
• freeze for several hours before serving.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

I have been wanting to test some gluten free goodies for sometime now. I have purchased ALL the various flours, sugars, sorghum, etc and it has been sitting and waiting in my extra fridge.  I finally started to test and create.

We went to my cousins for dinner the other day and she has Celiac Disease. Basically, Celiac Disease is is an autoimmune disease in which the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats.  Years ago, when she was first diagnosed, it was hard on her.  Now, with all the knowledge out there and all the products on the market, she eats most everything.  Going to their home, gave me the perfect excuse to try something a little new.

I have been reading The Allergen-Free Bakers Handbook. I am so inspired, intrigued and excited to bake with alternative ingredients.  I am curious about this new movement for many reasons.  I have been secretly wanting to eliminate some white food products from our diet and my youngest son, Levi has bad eczema.  I have been reading that eliminated both wheat and eggs from his diet could possibly help it.  I am starting with the wheat!

Although I am ready to "develop" some of my own recipes, I am starting with a chocolate cake recipe from Helene's blog; Tartelette.  I am always super inspired when reading her blog and this cake was a wonderful opportunity for me to go outside my comfort zone and use ingredients that I wouldn't normally cook with.

Simply Good Chocolate Cake
adapted from my tartlette

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar or sucanat
1 cup sour cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbls. cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup superfine sweet rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt

• preheat oven to 350*. line 15 muffin tins with liners.  lightly spray the inside of the cups
• in the bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until light and airy.
• turn to low and add the sour cream, melted chocolate, and butter and blend.
• slowly add the flours, cocoa powder, the gum, baking powder and salt.  mix until well combined
• divide batter, evenly into cups or vessels and bake for about 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pomegranate-Cranberry Cocktail (sans alcohol)

After our very successful bake sale ( see post here ), I have been asked by many to post this drink on the blog.  This is my go to non-alcoholic beverage when entertaining for brunch and in the summer months, it hangs out in the fridge.

This is so refreshing and so light, that after the first drink you end up craving it.  One always has milk, orange juice, apple juice, and lemonade on the beverage shelf.  Why not this drink?  Most times I make this drink "virgin" yet I have been known to spruce it up with a little kettle one vodka or throw the whole concoction into a margarita!

This drink is good to go all year long!

Pomegranate-Cranberry Cocktail
yield: about a 1 1/2 quarts

1 1/2 cups simple syrup
1 1/4 cups "just" pomegranate juice (unsweetened)
1 cup "just" cranberry juice (unsweetened)
2 Tbls. fresh lime juice
1 25.3 oz bottle of pelligrino
1 lime, sliced
1 bunch of mint
ice cubes

to make the simple syrup, put 1 1/2 cup of sugar and the 1 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan.  bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.  once you start to see the bubbles, turn the heat down and simmer for about 10 minutes, making sure all the sugar is dissolved.  set aside and let cool.

• combine the pomegranate juice, the cranberry juice and the simple syrup in a large, glass pitcher.  let this sit for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.
• if serving a crowd, add the whole bottle of pelligrino to the juice mixture along with some ice cubes.  add the sliced lime and mint.  let people help themselves

I like to keep the mixture in the fridge.  when I feel like a little something sweet, I pour about 2/3 of the mixture into a tall glass and then fill the other 1/3 with the pelligrino.  Add some ice, a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, July 23, 2010

Coconut Cake

Miguel loves coconut everything.  He especially loves a good coconut cake.  Last year, one of my donna hay magazines had a whole section on "queen of cakes". I made the cinnamon coated maple apple cakes (here) and they were out of control.  I am almost positive I made one of the chocolate cakes, but I can't remember when?  Last week I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs and Patricia from Technicolor Kitchen ( see her post here ) had made the coconut cake from this same issue. I was inspired to make this cake.

Friday nights we sit down together, as a family and eat dinner.  We like to share our Friday night dinners with family and friends.  This past week our cousin, Jackie came to dinner.  It was a beautiful night, we ate outside, we laughed, told stories and enjoyed.  The coconut cake was the perfect ending to a meal of seared tuna with a citrus ginger sauce, orzo with peas, feta + basil, and sauteed string beans.

Coconut Cake
adapted from donna hay magazine #44
inspired by Technicolor Kitchen

250g butter, room temperature
275g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
300g self-rising flour, sifted*
80g unsweetened coconut
250ml milk

640g confectioners sugar, sifted
1/3 cup boiling water


for the cake
• preheat oven to 325*.  butter and flour a 10-cup capacity bundt or ring pan.
• place butter, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of your electric mixer until light and creamy.  gradually add the eggs and beat well.  add the flour, coconut and the milk, mix until well combined.
• spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.  bake for 1 hour or until a skewer tested in the center of the cake comes out clean.
• cool in pan for about 30 minutes.  turn out onto wire rack to cool completely
for the icing
• whisk together the sugar and the water until smooth.  spoon the icing over the cake and allow to set.

the cake was so good that when I went to take more photos of it, it was pretty much gone.  I think it was breakfast the next morning!

* to make self-rising flour; combine 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  I usually make the equivalent of 4 cups at a time and store in a glass jar in my pantry.  just use when needed.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mini Nutella Doughnuts

I love making a "doughnut" that doesn't require yeast!  These are much more like a beignet than a doughnut, but who really cares; fried dough is fried dough.  And fried dough is really, really good.

I was reading one of my really old cookbooks, The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham and came across a recipe for some simple doughnuts.  Then, I was reading Helene's blog and she had a recipe for mini Nutella Doughnuts.  It was a sign!

I whipped up a batch of these a few mornings ago, prior to the kids waking up. When they did ultimately get up
( it is summer, after all - sleeping until 10:00 a.m. has become the norm), they ventured into the kitchen first.  There were quite a few smiles that morning!

These are easy and delicious.  Next time I will pipe them with jelly or lemon curd or some marshmallow fluff for Levi!

Nutella Doughnuts
adapted from My Tartelette 

3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
canola oil for frying
powdered sugar for dusting
nutella for piping

• heat 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven until it registers 375* on a thermometer
• in a large bowl, stir together eggs, ricotta cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  add the flour, baking powder and mix until combined
• drop a tablespoon of batter into oil.  fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side.  you want them amber in color.  do not crowd the pan ( I fried one to begin with to check for doneness.  I opened one up to make sure the dough was cooked through). 
• when cooked, drain on paper towels.
• when warm enough to handle, pipe nutella into the center of each doughnut.  dust with powdered sugar.
• eat them immediately.  best when fresh from the fryer!

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 19, 2010

PIzza, homemade everything!

My kids come home from camp STARVING!  Generally, I bring some sort of snack for the ride home.  But, when they get home, they want a full on meal.  I am trying to come up with healthy alternatives ( avoiding hot dogs, mac n cheese, ice cream, etc) and pizza is a really good choice.  Especially when one makes their own pizza dough and their own sauce.

I keep my freezer stocked with dough and usually make a double recipe of pizza sauce.  The left over sauce, I place in ice cube trays. Once frozen I store in baggies.  An ice cube equals about 2 tablespoons of sauce which makes defrosting fast and easy.  I started making my own sauce when I read what was on the label of a store bought pizza sauce.  I was somewhat disgusted.  After researching pizza sauce there was no question in my mind that I was now going to be making my own.  Not only is free of preservatives and junk, but it is so ridiculously economical.  Once one realizes that it is just as easy to make most of this stuff ( pizza sauce, salad dressing, marinades, BBQ sauce, rubs, etc ) at home, not only will you save money at the super market but you will be filling your family up with healthy, clean ingredients.

Eli likes his pizza with arugula, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and caramelized onions, Isaac likes his with cheese and pepperoni and Levi likes "just cheese".

Homemade Pizza Sauce
yield: 1.5 quarts

3 Tbls. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 (28-oz) cans tomato puree
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper, fresh ground

• heat oil in a saucepan over medium high heat.  add all the ingredients and bring to a boil.  lower heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
• unused sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
adapted from David Lieberman, Ten Things you need to Eat
yield: 4 individual pizzas

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. active dry yeast
2 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water (110*)
2 Tbls. olive oil

• whisk flour + salt together in a large bowl
• in a bowl combine yeast, sugar, and warm water and let stand until all the yeast has been dissolved and the mixture starts to foam.  add olive oil and pour yeast mixture into the flour.  using a fork, combine the mixture until a loose dough forms.
• transfer the dough to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes.  place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
• preheat oven to 400*
• place a large sheet pan or two in the oven to preheat.
• place dough onto a well floured work surface and divide into 4 equal parts.  roll each disc into an 8" circle (the unused dough can be frozen and saved for another day).  i like to roll my pizza doughs onto parchment.  this makes it easy to transfer to the hot-preheated cookie sheet.
• top the pizza dough with favorite toppings.
• bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust is crispy and cheese is bubbling.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blueberry Mini Muffins

Isaac loves mini blueberry muffins.  He requests them when I am "snack mom" and always asks for them at the local supermarket.  Of course, I don't buy them and always tell him that I will make them for him.  Since blueberries are abundant, fresh, and delicious, it seems like the perfect time to whip up a batch of Isaac's favorites.

I have been purging my magazines; going through them, dividing my tear sheets into piles of various categories; design, photography inspiration, recipes to try, and graphics ideas.  I came upon this recipe in a Bon Appetit from July 2006.  I prepped the ingredients before going to bed and upon waking up this morning, I made about 38 mini muffins.  These were so light, moist, not too sweet and a bit tart.  Delicious!

Blueberry-Topped Lemon Muffins
adapted from Bon Appetit 2006

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
4 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 pints fresh blueberries
1/4 cup heavy cream

• preheat oven to 375*.  line 38 mini muffin cups with paper liners
• mash 1/4 cup sugar and lemon peel in a small bowl.
• whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and blend.
• beat butter and 1 cup of sugar until smooth.  beat in egg.  beat in buttermilk, vanilla and half the lemon sugar.  add the flour.
• using a small ice cream scooper, scoop into muffin cups.  top each muffin with 3 blueberries.  bake until lightly brown on top about 22 minutes. when out of the oven, brush tops with cream and sprinkle with remaining sugar.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homemade Marshmallows + Homemade Graham Crackers

Levi loves marshmallows.  He likes them in his pancakes, his oatmeal, by themselves in a big blue bowl, and roasted over the flame with a big hunk of bittersweet chocolate and a graham cracker. Marshmallows are his vice.   

Marshmallows are really very easy to make.  They take about 20 minutes to make and assemble.  I like to make toasted coconut marshmallows, chocolate covered marshmallows, rocky road and flavored marshmallows.  However, I like them best roasted and  wedged between a homemade graham cracker and some really good chocolate.  Who out there doesn't like a s'more?  

S'mores evoke so many emotions.  Childhood, camp fires, camp, and the joy you see when your child eats one for the very first time.  Melted marshmallows on a stick!  Come good!

We get invited to a lot of bbq's during the summer months and I hate to arrive empty handed.  At the beginning of the summer I make a huge batch of Nancy Silverton's Graham crackers (see original post, here ).  The dough is really sticky and somewhat hard to work with, but the final result is unbeatable.  I make and shape the dough.  Cut them out to size and then freeze the shaped graham crackers until I am ready to take them to someones house.  The day of, I bake off a dozen or so and package it all up with the marshmallows and some chocolate bars. It's the perfect hostess gift!

Homemade Marshmallows
adapted from Martha Stewart
yield: 48 marshmallows

3 tablespoons +  1 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
3 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
sifted powdered sugar

• spray a 9 x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.  line with parchment allowing for some overhang.  spray the parchment. set aside
• put sugar, corn syrup, salt, 3/4 cups water in a heavy duty saucepan.  bring to a boil over high heat. stirring to dissolve the sugar. cook without stirring, until mixture registers 238* on a candy thermometer.
•while that is cooking, put 3/4 cup cold water into the bowl of your electric mixer and sprinkle with the gelatin.  soften for 5 minutes.
• using the whisk attachment on your blender, turn on low speed and gradually add your hot syrup.  start on slow speed and once combined, increase the speed to ultimately the highest speed.  The mixture should be very stiff, mix for about 15 minutes.  Beat in vanilla to combine.  
• pour into prepared dish and smooth with an off set spatula.  
• set aside, uncovered for about 3 hours or overnight
• sift 1 cup of powdered sugar in a jelly roll pan.  cut marshmallows with a well oiled knife.  i like my marshmallows 1" squared.  roll the cut marshmallows in the powdered sugar.  if you need more sugar, sift more into the pan.
• store in a container for 3 days or freeze for 2 months.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Layered Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

I had buttermilk, I was craving chocolate, and I wanted cake.  Donna Hay to the rescue.  I was taking a moment of solitude, reading my donna hay magazine, the 50th issue.  Low and behold, pages and pages of chocolate desserts!  What I love about her recipes, aside from the mouth watering photography, is the fact that most of the recipes have few ingredients.  And most of the ingredients line my pantry shelves.  This cake is mixed in a bowl, no mixer, no gadgets.  My favorite kind of recipe!

I sent this cake with the kids, to our neighbors, who was hosting movie night under the stars (movie projected onto the garage door; kids wrapped in blankets, sitting on beach chairs).  These nights, at Jeni's, are some of my favorite summer nights!

chocolate buttermilk layer cake
donna hay #50

1 cup water
125g unsalted butter, chopped
35g cocoa, sifted
300g all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking soda
440g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

100g unsalted butter, room temp
500g cream cheese, room temp
320g confectioner's sugar, sifted
50g cocoa, sifted

• preheat oven to 325*.  grease two 8" round cake pans ( I didn't have round, I did this in square pans), line with parchment and grease the parchment lightly.
• place water, butter, and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter has melted.
• sift the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a bowl.  add the cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients.
• add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk.
• divide mixture between the 2 cake pans.
• bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.  allow to cool in the pans.  turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• while the cake is in the oven, place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy.
• add the confectioner's sugar and cocoa and beat for another 6-8 minutes until really creamy.
• to assemble, slice each cake in half, horizontally.  frost between the layers and on the top.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Strawberry Muffins

These are more like a cake than a muffin.  Light, not at all dense and the perfect balance of sweet and savory ( I added a touch of balsamic).  These would be a delicious addition to any brunch menu or they could really just stand on their own.

I like making muffins for breakfast.  The ingredients can be measured out the night before, they take 5 minutes to mix up and only about 25 minutes to bake.  Muffins are best eaten the day they are made.  I usually send the uneaten muffins to their teachers and the school's office staff. If I didn't, I would eat them, all of them,  and that just wouldn't be such a good thing!

Strawberry Muffins
yield: 16 muffins

2 cups organic unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup sucanat
1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 egg
1 cup organic heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup strawberries, diced
1 1/2 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
powdered sugar

• preheat oven to 350*.  line 16 muffin cups with paper liners
• in a small bowl combine the strawberries and the balsamic. set aside
• in the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, and sugar.  add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
• combine the egg, cream and vanilla, whisk and add to the flour mixture.  pulse a few times until the mixture JUST comes together.  don't over mix.
• drain the berries of most of it's liquid and add to the batter.  mix by hand until the strawberries are embedded into the dough.
• scoop into the prepared muffin tins ( I use a 1/2 cup ice cream scooper ).
• bake for 25-30 minutes.  they are ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a little bit of crumbs on them.
• let cool completely and then dust with powdered sugar.


Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Salted Butter Caramel

I can eat this with a spoon.  And happily so.  I have mentioned it before, caramel is one of my favorite foods.  Rolos, Sees scotch kisses and scotch mallows, 100,000.00 dollar bar, sugar babies, and sugar daddy's - just to name a few.

I had some left over brownies ( here ) from last week and although they could stand on their own, I wanted to make some mudslides for the kids and their friends.  I also wanted to deliver jars of caramel to some of my friends ( which I did, with a quart of ice cream).  I like all things David Lebovitz.  I wanted to try his caramel sauce recipe.  This caramel sauce will go down as one of the best ones I have made to date!

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
adapted from David Lebovitz, The Sweet Life of Paris

2 cups ( 400g) sugar
1 2/3 cups (400g) heavy cream
2 Tbsp. (30g) salted butter
1/4 tsp. fleur de sel or to taste

• spread sugar in a heavy duty pan, set over moderate heat and cook without stirring, until the sugar liquefies (at the edges).
• using a wooden spoon, gently stir the mixture, bringing the melted sugar from the edges into the center.  don't forget to stir the sugar from the bottom of the pan.  the mixture will be pebbly, but keep stirring until it turns amber.
• continue to cook until it is deep brown in color. it will start to smoke.  the mixture is ready when it is the color of an aged penny.
• remove from the heat and quickly stir in 1/3 of the cream.  it will bubble.  continue to whisk in the remaining cream, slowly.  when it is all smooth, add the butter and salt.
• the sauce can store for one month in the fridge.  mine won't last that long!

Labels: , ,