Thursday, February 26, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers- Meringues Chantilly and Giveaway Winners

Meringues Chantilly, this week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe, is quick and simple, but leaves you feeling like you've just enjoyed a nice "Barefoot in Paris" experience (see my tall man and I at Versailles, above. I don't think we could have enjoyed Meringues on that day, though, because Ina strictly prohibits you from making them when it's humid!). With some sugar and egg whites and a hard working KitchenAid, you can pull off a pretty impressive dessert in only a few minutes prep (plus hours in the oven!) I've seen this recipe on Barefoot Contessa a couple times and was happy to finally make it. I served it with strawberries and whipped cream for some of our new friends. They don't know about my weird habit of photographing my food, so I neglected to take any photos of the final product.

Let me know how you served this and what people thought. My testers thought it tasted kind of like cotton candy! My son just picked out the whipped cream and strawberries, haha. He must be related to me after all (sometimes I wonder when I see my husband running around in miniature!)

Now for the giveaway winners... you should all know I was perfectly random and didn't even rig my mom to win. She's going to be disappointed, but these lovely ladies won't be:

Melody said...
My favorite healthy breakfast needs lots of protein to keep me satisfied. My blog has a recipe for yummy mini quiche that are great for a quick breakfast! Thanks for the giveaway!

shortSTACKSlife said...
papaya with cottage cheese!!

Carolyn G said...
My healthy breakfast is oatmeal and orange juice and a banana


Please email me your address by Sunday night or I will choose more winners (I just need ShortStacks). :) Thanks ladies and to everyone who entered!

Meringues Chantilly
from Ina Garten
Ingredients
6 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature (I used seven large eggs)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream
Berries

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.

Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.

Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD- Heath Ice Cream Sandwiches

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie assignment, Caramel Crunch Bars chosen by Whitney, has left me feeling happy about the kitchen again. I've been mostly staying out and I'm feeling guilty about my semi-neglected blog (and husband) but promise to have more coming soon. And well I nearly missed the deadline for these babies, they were worth the wait.

These little cookies are more than delicious. They are also a little philosophical. I spent a good portion of the time mixing them up and spreading chocolate thinking about another Heath. He's been a favorite since Ten Things I Hate About You and A Knight's Tale, and I'll admit I teared up watching his family accept his Oscar. I think we all miss him. (Sorry, no photo credit- I'm not sure where it came from. I wish I could say I took it!)

Not only were these little heath bar cookies easy to make, they didn't dirty too many dishes and came together pretty quickly. I tend to make cookies when I'm looking for a quick fix (or some baking therapy) but I like how simple and fun these were and the nice change of taste and texture. I think the recipe also leaves a lot of room for variation. Since we don't do coffee, I just omitted that with no problem at all. I'm already planning a few different versions- maybe something with peanut butter and white chocolate for my Tall Man? The next batch will also feature more milk chocolate and less bittersweet for my mom.

I think it might be fun to experiment with different shapes, too. This time around, I cut some into big squares for ice cream sandwiches (which I filled with cookie dough- it was down to that or mint, so it was a pretty easy choice!) and little bite size cookies for my hubby to take to work. Don't forget to check Whitney's blog for the recipe and come back Thursday for Barefoot Bloggers and the Yoplait giveaway winners.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD- Peanut Butter Topped Devil's Food Cupcakes

Although these cupcakes don't look a thing like the beautiful cake on front of Dorie's wonderful Baking bible, they are indeed based off the Devil's Food White Out Cake. The Cover Cake has finally been chosen, by Stephanie, for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. I was pumped but not sure what to do with such an enormous cake. Our romantic valentine's dinner sadly (and happily) went the way of Pei Wei due to some craziness. Plus, my valentine can't eat chocolate, so I knew this just wouldn't work. So, I opted for cupcakes. They are easy to pawn off and I think people don't feel as guilty eating a little treat. See my cupcakes above, they're not even ashamed to be photographed in their plastic dish ready to head out to the neighbors. That's a cupcake for you. Unpretentious, delicious, and just what the doctor ordered.

I was also without ingredients, time, or any desire to risk a fancy frosting without a candy thermometer, so I decided to make Ina's Peanut Butter Frosting to go on top. While this frosting doesn't look as pretty as my favorite frosting, it's so delicious I had to keep smacking hands with the spatula to keep fingers out of the bowl. It's creamy, sweet, and perfectly compliments the rich chocolate cupcakes. With only a few ingredients, it's simple to make and well worth it, although I'll double it next time to frost so many cupcakes. I opted to freeze half for a later date. We'll see how they come out, but judging from the beautiful color and texture, I think they'll be just as delicious then as they were today.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below!

Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing
adapted from Ina Garten (generously frosts a dozen cupcakes- double for entire cake recipe)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth. Frost cupcakes and use any left over frosting to make graham cracker sandwiches. Yum!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sunrise Smoothies and a Yoplait Giveaway

Everyone has their own fears. I, for one, am terrified of birds. And oatmeal. I've been trying to over come the texture and enjoy this healthy breakfast fare but it's hard for me. My son, on the other hand, runs screaming when I pull out the blender. Well, I decided it was time to get past that. in the course of all my cooking I need to use it occasionally and it just wasn't working out. So, with this fun giveaway from MyBlogSpark in mind, I set out to make a yogurt smoothie that would change his mind. And I succeeded.

Even my brother was swayed, and he normally likes the heavily ice creamed smoothies. So try it out. And to enter the contest for this awesome bag, water bottle note pad, and free yogurt, leave me a comment with your favorite healthy breakfast food. I'm really trying to overcome my oatmeal fear and move beyond my insatiable craving for Frosted Flakes.

I'll close this contest on Saturday at midnight Arizona time. They'll be three winners so don't be shy!

Anne Strawberry's Sunrise Smoothie
3/4 Cup Frozen Pineapple
3/4 Cup Frozen Mango
1 Banana, sliced
5 Strawberries (fresh or frozen), sliced
1 Yoplait Yo-Plus Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 teaspoons Sugar (optional)

Combine all ingredients in blender and pulse until well blended. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Soft Garlic Knots (but wait... it's Tuesday!)

It's been raining all weekend. And you know what that does for meringue. Between that and my son's double ear infection, the lack of eggs in the house, and other excuses you've heard before, I have no floating islands for you to drool over today. Don't forget to check out the other bakers beautiful versions, though, and to try these rolls. They are quick, delicious, and fun. Even the yeast part (I promise it isn't scary!) Make sure you brush the final product with a little butter like I forgot to do. They'll look and taste even better! Come back later in the week for a giveaway, too.

Soft Garlic Knots

For the dough:
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. instant yeast
1 ¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup milk
1 cup + 2 tbsp. lukewarm water

For the glaze:
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. herbes de provence (or Italian seasoning)

Directions:

To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until ingredients have formed a dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch long rope and tie into a knot. Take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over the top, tucking it into the center. Take the end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking stone, or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.

To make the glaze, finely mince the garlic or press it through a garlic press. Mix with the melted butter and Italian seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush the glaze onto the shaped rolls. Bake until set and lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

Adapted from Annie's Eats

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD- World Peace Cookies (finally!)

How did Tuesday get here so soon? Time is speeding ahead and it's almost Valentine's Day already. My sister in laws thought it would be fun to make a gourmet dinner for our husbands and have a really fun date. Kristi wants us to wear updo's and Auburn is even busting out the chargers for our meal. I'd love some menu suggestions keeping in mind the fact that we have five kids between us and will be cooking with them and my husband's "no tomatoes, no chocolate, nothing too spicy or delicious" stomach requirements. How's that for tricky? It should be fun though and I can't wait to bust open my Dorie book and browse the desserts for our special meal.

As for these cookies, they are appropriately named and freaking good too. They come together easily and are open for variation. For an interesting debate on the right salt to top them with, check this post. I think I'll book mark it for the next time I'm in the market, lol! I did make these with just a sprinkle of kosher salt on top and they were great. Next time, I think I'll make them a little broader and keep slicing them a bit thicker than Dorie suggests. I think she's a bit of a miracle worker in the number of cookies she can get out of a batch! I loved her anecdote about eating her own recipe at a luncheon. She's a great writer of stories and recipes alike.

Be sure to stop by Jessica's blog for the recipe. I'm glad these cookies were finally chosen- they're delicious! And let me know what you'd make for your honey- the clock is ticking! Please accept my apologies for the picture shortage, too. My kitchen will be done soon and I hope my life will get in order then! :)