two skinny jenkins


130307 – Oats ‘n Honey Apple Crisp (w/caramel sauce!)
130308, 1:06 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: , , , ,

apple cobbler2

OMG. I am never going to waste time making a crispy cobbler topping ever again.  This was the easiest cobbler I have ever made and it was the best.   The cobbler itself intentionally has (comparatively) very little sugar added, so the caramel topping goes really well with the tartness and texture of the cobbler.

[Serves 6-8]

Granola Bar Apple Cobbler

  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • scant 1/4 C sugar (i used about 1/8 C here)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 T unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 10-12 pieces
  • 2 C Oats ‘n Honey granola bars smashed up into pea size pieces (3 packages – just use a cooking utensil to smash them up in the bag)
  • 6-8 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 C honey

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup (210 g) of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp (85 g) butter
  • 1/2 C heavy whipping cream

Method

  1. Make the sauce: Heat sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it turns a amber color (close to the final product above).  Once all the sugar is melted, vigorously stir in the butter to combine.  As soon as the butter is mixed in, remove the pan from heat and wait 3 seconds.  Gradually and vigorously stir in cream and keep stirring until it is all mixed in.  Transfer to a seal-able heat proof container and let the caramel cool at room temperature.
  2. Make the cobbler: Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, incorporate the butter into the mixture. Then add the granola bits.
  3. In the baking dish, toss apples and honey. Sprinkle on the topping and bake for 1 hour, or until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 20 minutes, then serve with caramel sauce.
  4. Reheat the caramel in it’s container over a pot of boiling water.



130226 – Salted Caramel Brownies
130227, 10:26 am
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: , ,

Brownies

Oh yeah… Thank you, Smitten Kitchen.  I just slightly adjusted the ingredients to simplify the items I had to buy, and to make it a little less bad for you.  They are still extremely rich and delicious!

Caramel

  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • Heaped 1/4 t sea salt
  • 2 T heavy cream

Brownie

  • 3 ounces very dark chocolate (~70% cocoa), roughly chopped
  • 4 T unsalted butter, plus extra for pan (notice you use less than a stick of butter for the whole thing – Smitten calls for 1 1/2 sticks!!)
  • 2/3 C granulated sugar (Smitten called for 1 Cup of sugar here – after making them I think it could be further reduced to 1/2 Cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/4 t  sea salt
  • 2/3 C all-purpose flour

Make caramel:

  1. Smitten prepares parchment on a plate here – I ended up pouring the caramel directly on the plate and it worked out fine… I’m in Guatemala and didn’t want to buy parchment for the sake of one little dessert.
  2. In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar, stirring to break up large chunks, until it has turned a nice copper color.
  3. Remove from heat and quickly and carefully stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best.
  4. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.
  5. Pour out onto a large plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which takes about 20 minutes.
  6. To separate the caramel from the plate, one swift yet careful hit with a utensil to the middle of the plate did the trick.

Meanwhile, or when your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.  (Again, Smitten calls for parchment – not necessary!) Grease a 9 x 11 baking dish with butter or cooking spray (sides too).
  2. In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter. Off the heat, whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour until just mixed – you don’t want to over stir the flour.
  3. Assemble brownies: Chop the caramel it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until relatively even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool thoroughly before cutting.



130127 – Easy Chocolate Mousse
130215, 10:31 am
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: ,

130127_ChocolateMousse

I’m so glad we started getting Bon Appetit magazine at home.  It is so inspiring and so far everything has been super tasty!

  • 1/2 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 large egg whites (reserve all 4 egg whites so you have backups on step 4…)
  • 1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped

Preparation

  1. Beat 1/2 cup cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form; cover and chill.
  2. Combine egg yolks, espresso, salt, and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large metal bowl. Set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (the recipe says not allow bowl to touch water, but I don’t know how it was going to reach 160 degrees without touching a little bit – I waited over 10 minutes!). Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is lighter in color and almost doubled in volume and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the mixture registers 160 degrees, about 1 minute.
  3. Remove bowl from pan. Add chocolate; whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand, whisking occasionally, until room temperature.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat egg white in another medium bowl, gradually increasing the speed from slow/medium speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually beat in remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Keep increase speed to high and beat until firm peaks form.  Have patience here or you egg whites will not preform.  Also, once they form peaks, STOP BEATING THEM!
  5. Carefully fold egg whites into chocolate in 2 additions; fold whipped cream into mixture just to blend (this is how the yummy fluffy texture is made).
  6. Divide mousse among six (ahem- FOUR) teacups or 4-oz. ramekins. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Mousse can be made 1 day ahead; cover and keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.


120110 – Southern Farewell – Sweet Potato Souffle

This sweet potato souffle was my first attempt at the dish as well as a means of cleaning out the fridge before we depart from St. Simons, GA.  Needless to say, I didn’t exactly follow the recipe so I learned a little along the way.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes cooked and whipped (recipe called for 3)
  • 1/2 C grated carrots (I probably used more than this)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (recipe called for 1 C – I would further reduce the sugar next time)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 T butter (I would use 3 T next time)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk (recipe called for condensed milk)
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla (recipe called for 2 t which seemed like a lot)
  • 1 bag marshmallows (you can never have too many marshmallows!)

Directions

  1. Cook potatoes until tender. I like to bake them with the skin on in a covered dish with 1/4 – 1/2″ water (helps to steam them) at 400° for 35-40 minutes.
  2. Drain + peel potatoes and mash.
  3. Add sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla. Mix well and put in a 1 1/2 quart casserole.
  4. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 25 minutes. ** RESIST THE URGE to do marshmallows here.
  5. Place marshmallows on top and return to oven for about 5 minutes or until brown on top. ** I was so excited about the marshmallows that I put them on top for step 4.  Hence the caramelization in the above photo.


120105 – Bread Pudding

I wanted to take a picture of the pudding plated, but it smelled and tasted so good that it was gone before I had a chance.  I combined two great bread pudding recipes - one from Simply Recipes and one from Gourmet – to make this amazing dessert.

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette (homemade is best)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 cups milk (I used 1 cup skim and 2 cups plain soy milk)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 2/3 cup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped mixed dried fruit such as raisins and apricots

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.
  2. Cut enough 1-inch pieces from baguette to measure about 5-6 cups.
  3. Stir together eggs, butter, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Then whisk in cream, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add bread and soak, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, boil brandy and water with dried fruits in a small heavy saucepan until liquid is reduced to about 2 Tbsp, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly.
  6. Stir fruit mixture into bread mixture, then transfer to a 2 Quart baking dish. Bake until custard is set and bread is golden in places, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool slightly before serving.


100802 – Blackberry Jam
100802, 4:47 pm
Filed under: BREAKFAST, DESSERT, FUN | Tags:

Inspired by a recipe from David Lebovitz. He made some lovely Apricot Jam.  I just lessened the sugar and used some wild blackberries that I found while wandering around London.

  • 1 pound (or so) fresh blackberries (found at Regent’s Park along the canal path)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 2 cups (i think – we have no measuring cup in our rental apartment) sugar
  1. Combine water and sugar in a sauce pan and stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Put a small plate in the freezer.
  3. Add the fruit (blackberries) cook, uncovered, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface. As the mixture thickens and reduces, stir frequently to make sure the jam isn’t burning on the bottom.
  4. When the jam looks thick and is looks slightly-jelled, turn off the heat and put a small amount of jam on the chilled plate. Put back in the freezer for a few minutes, then do the nudge test: If the jam mounds and wrinkles, it’s done. If not, continue to cook, then re-test the jam until it reaches that consistency.
  5. Once done, ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.

Storage: I find this jam will keep up to one year if refrigerated. If you wish to can it for long-term preservation, you can refer to the USDA Canning Guidelines for techniques.



100515 – Banana Ice Cream
100607, 12:28 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags:

More accurately,

Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

This delicious and easy (and cheap) frozen dessert is inspired by my favorite lunch.  Anyone who has worked with me knows that i eat a peanut butter banana sandwich just about every week.

First, cut up 5-6 bananas into a plastic bag, or some other container you can put in the freezer.   We get our bananas from Trader Joe’s, and because they are sold at a per banana price, our bananas are pretty huge.  So, our 5 bananas might be the equivalent of 8 normal size ones.

Freeze the bananas solid.  I don’t know why they look so hideous in this photo – they aren’t as repulsive in person.  I just cut them up before work in the morning to make the ice cream when I return home.

This blender requires that I continually prod the frozen bananas down to the blades until it is finally all smooth.  Also, it makes some worrisome whirring sounds when it finally does catch a banana hunk.  Just last week (100601) I made another batch of ‘ice cream’ (this time using cocoa instead of peanut butter).  I tried using a food processor instead of the blender and it was much better!  I guess our blender is prettymuch reserved for margaritas now.

After about 3 minutes of blending/ processing, the bananas should take on a creamy texture.  You can eat it now as soft serve, or let it freeze longer for a regular ice cream consistency.




100210 – Joe’s Birthday (cup) Cakes
100212, 3:20 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags:


Red Velvet Cake

This has been Joe’s birthday cake every year for the past 20-some years.  This was the first year that I have taken on the task of baking the cake for him.  His mom  reassured me that the recipe impossible to mess up.  This was meant to allay my fears – but it mostly added to them.  I would be the first one to mess it up… especially on a weeknight… especially being just my third cake baking endeavor ever.  In the end, it turned out that my MIL (mother in law) was right, and the cupcakes were DELICIOUS.

  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz. red food coloring [this is 2 bottles, I only use 1 bottle and then fill the bottle with water and add to make up for the liquid]
  • 2 T. cocoa
  • 2 1/4 c. plain flour [not cake flour]
  • 1 scant t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. buttermilk (I used 4T dried buttermilk and it came out fine – just add it and water as you would regular buttermilk)
  • 1 t. baking soda [try to get the lumps out before you add it]
  • 1 T. vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease and flour two 8″ pans [or use cupcake papers if you make cupcakes, or a sheet pan]
  3. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs in your mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. Mix together coloring and cocoa and add to mixture.    This stuff is a mess.  My white mixing bowl is now a pretty pink mixing bowl.
  5. Add salt and flour with buttermilk and vanilla (do not mix any longer than necessary or it will toughen the cake).
  6. Alternately add soda and vinegar and don’t beat hard, just blend. Bake in two 8″ greased and floured pans. Layers may be split to make 4.
  7. Fill two baking pans or muffin tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes for cupcakes, 30-40 minutes for cakes.  Cool completely before icing.

Frosting for red velvet cake:

  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  1. Cook flour and milk on low heat until thick. Cool completely.
  2. Cream sugar and butter and vanilla until fluffy. [You can't really overdo this stage]
  3. Add flour/milk mixture.
  4. Beat until mixture is like whipped cream.
  5. Spread on layer. Sprinkle with coconut or chopped nuts if desired.
  6. Keep cake cool (the icing is best cold).


091028 – Panettone | BBA #24
091029, 10:15 pm
Filed under: BBA Challenge, BREAKFAST, DESSERT, SNACK | Tags: , , , ,

Baby Panetonne

FINALLY!  I got back in the kitchen and made some bread!  It feels like ages.  I have been away the last two (three?) weekends and just couldn’t wait till this weekend to get back into it.  I have been doing more cooking than the blog suggests, but it takes more than i have these days to post every good thing i eat.  Maybe this weekend i will get around to retro-posting some highlights.

This was not a good recipe to choose to make during the week after work.  Especially not while making dinner, trying to bike on the trainer for an hour, and getting up at 6 to run before work the next morning.  I think the bread came out pretty well, but I sacrificed the run.

My experience of this bread was ruined from the start by the perfectly delicious Panettone that I ate last Christmas.  It was my first ever panettone experience.  One of our consultants shelled out hundreds of dollars to ship us (us = the architecture firm i was working in) – a REAL Milanese Panettone.  Despite it’s massive size, the crumb was as airy like a croissant with a perfect distribution of candied fruits and nuts.

My first panettone probably weighed 20 lbs. and I can only imagine that it had baked for hours.  My petit panettone on the other hand, took roughly 40 minutes.   I checked at 20, 25, and 30 waiting for the tops to be golden brown, and i think 40 minutes was a bit too long and dried them out too much.  The big one (below) took about 1:20 and seems just right (texture-wise, i know it isn’t pretty).  I don’t have a thermometer for it yet, but I know my oven is on the cool side.    I was VERY glad i chose to use my mixer for the whole kneading process on this one.  It was sticky, tacky dough (I may have been heavy handed with the rum) and i would have added too much flour had i kneaded by hand.

Panetonne Grande

This bread in particular has made me appreciate the amount of quality control that goes into professional baking.  To make this bread come out consistently good WHILE making a profit on the effort must be a real challenge.



091017 – Red Bean Pastry
091019, 7:25 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags:

Red Bean Pastry

Yum, yum – dim sum!  I have been craving these since going grocery shopping down in China Town last week.  I was first introduced to red bean pastries by a friend in college, and have gotten sporadic cravings ever since.  I used sweetened, canned red bean paste for the filling, but have seen recipes to make your own red bean paste online.

  • 1/2 C lukewarm water
  • 1/2 T granulated yeast
  • 1/2 T salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 C  all purpose flour
  • egg wash (a bit of beaten egg with 1 t water)
  1. Mix yeast, salt, eggs, honey and melted butter with water in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the flour without kneading using a wooden spoon or your hands.
  3. Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses, approx 2 hours.
  4. Dust the dough with flour and then shape into a ball. Divide into 8 equal portions.
  5. Shape each portion into a ball, flatten into a circle and add 1 tbs of red bean paste at the center. Fold over and re-shape into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the rolls.
  6. Allow to rest for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.  Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the crust with egg wash, sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Cool on a wire rack.



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