Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Painted Cookies

I whipped up some painted flower cookies in celebration of the wonderful weather we are having. Seriously if you live in the netherlands then you'll understand my need to mark this occasion with something special.
Once again I turned to my favorite sugar cookie recipe to make these. I also decided to give it a shot at painting them before they were baked. I know there are alot of new products out there that can give you a more professional look but thats not what I'm going for here. I prefer old fashioned in alot of ways. So to achieve this all you need is some 2 egg yolks,1 tsp.water and food coloring. Whip the yolks up a bit,divide into several bowls,tint with coloring and apply with paintbrush.

I wasnt sure how the cookies were going to turn out. I bought this pan that is bigger than a mini muffin pan but smaller than the regular cupcake tins. It came with a a flower shape and I knew this would be a perfect thing to try. The middle puffed up wich wasnt what I had expected but I guess it makes sense since you can fill the middles up with something. The first batch I didn't bother to paint the middle but when I saw that it puffed up I painted everything then. You could get really creative with these though..maybe fill the middle with some colored whipping cream or hollow the middle out and add a small amount of pudding. This was alot of fun and I plan to paint more cookies at some point.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sweet Rolls

So Im all excited about making cinnamon rolls. I've decided that Im going to use my favorite biscuit dough in as many different recipes as I can. This was the perfect one to start with. I looked up the basics of it and went to work. I pulled them out,poured a simple glaze on top,took a pic and started to eat one. I sat there thinking wow these are so great but it wasnt what I thought. Well after we all got done trying one it dawned on me. What is the most important ingredient in a cinnamon roll recipe? yep that would be cinnamon and guess what I didn't bother to put in! These were sweet rolls,not cinnamon. I have to say though that these are aswesome and I plan to actually make them again this week with the actual cinnamon in there but I will also continue to make these sweet rolls aswell. I dont have a recipe for these. Basically I took my dough recipe,rolled it out,covered it with butter,brown sugar and some white sugar. I rolled it up tightly and cut 11 rolls. I put it in a 8 inch pan greased with butter and baked it on 400 degrees or 200 celcius until it was golden brown. In a bowl I combined powdered sugar,milk and some vanilla flavoring and made a think icing for it and poured it over the top of the rolls when they came out of the oven. Easy Peasy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Homemade Pita Pockets

I made homemade pita pockets! I still can't believe I did it. I am the worst person when it comes to making anything with yeast. Im so scared of it..lol I decided to give it another go when I read this post about it. The recipe looked pretty straight forward and didn't require alot of steps. I didn't have a breadmachine so I worked the dough myself,wich I must say it didn't need a whole lot. I did notice though that my dough was super sticky and I kept needing to add flour to it so Im not sure if I did somethng wrong or not. It took me awhile to get them just right but I was so happy about the taste and how wonderfully soft they are. Now my pitas are funny shaped but that doesnt matter. I could still cut them open and make sandwiches with them. The only thing I changed about the recipe was the oil. I made these again today and switched it with regular oil and Im happier about that. My olive oil is not a good quality and I could taste that so until I find a better quality olive oil Im going to stick with regular. I also notice that I should not roll these out thin. I only mildly rolled them and those came out better. I made one the size of a personal pan pizza..lol I still need alot of practice with these but Im sticking with this great recipe and will make them often.
Pita Pockets..makes between 8-10
3 cups Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 TBLSPN Honey
2 tspns. Yeast
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups warm water..I used 1 1/2
2 TBLSPNS Olive Oil
Add yeast to water and dissolve. Add salt,honey,olive oil and flour;mix until combined. I needed to add more flour to get rid of the horrible sticky dough. Divide the dough up into 8 balls,cover with damp towel and let rise for 20mins. Pre heat oven to 400 degrees or 200 celcius and put your cookie sheet inside the oven while it warms up. You want the sheet hot when you put the pitas on there. Roll them out slightly and put on cookie sheet. Bake for 5 mins. The pitas will puff up during baking. I had to cook mine longer wich probably means my oven is off..I had to add another 5 mins to mine.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hearty Ham and Potato Soup

I love thick soups. There are a few thinner soups I like but given a choice Im always going to go for the more substantial kind. I have been reviewing mulitple potato soup recipes and took my favorites from each one when creating this recipe. It's nothing fancy,a very basic soup that won huge reviews from the guys and asking if I will make it again soon. I did not add any seasonings to my soup but feel free to do so. My chicken broth is way better than I stuff I got back home. I buy it in a glass jar and it looks so homemade. The broth looks like it was directly poured into this jar along with huge chunks of chicken after cooking it. The flavor is better than anything I had before so it added the only flavor we really needed. You can add more or less potatoes and just decress the amount of milk.I used 3 cups but could have easily gotten away with using only 2. So all these measurments are just basic and you can add or take away from it. You can't go wrong with this recipe. You can also add an onion to this recipe and sautee it in a bit of butter and then proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Ham and Potato Soup..8 servings
5 potatos peeled and chopped(I used small ones because thats all I had)
1 small Onion,finely diced;optional
1 cup Ham,diced
Chicken Broth; enough to cover the potatoes to boil in
2-3 cups of Milk
1-2cups Instant Potato Flakes
Shredded Cheese:cheddar or smoked Gouda works great
If using an onion,sautee it in a soup pot with some butter and cook it until it becomes soft. Add in potatoes and chicken broth;cooking until potatoes are tender. Add in Milk,ham and enough potato flakes to reach your desired thickness. I add in the amount of cheese I want and cook until heated threw.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Homemade Rice A Roni

I can't find flavored rice here..not unless I want a certain kind called nasi and once and awhile thats ok but not everyday. So whats a girl to do? look online of course and find something that works. I did and found it. I was pretty happy with how easy it was to make and how versatile it can be. I was able to find a packet of vermicelli at the store so I didn't need to break up spaghetti noodles but if you can't find a vermicelli mix then by all means use something else.
Homemade Rice A Roni
1 cup Spaghetti,broken into very small pieces
2 cups Rice,uncooked
1/4 cup Dried Parsley Flakes
6 TBLSPNS Chicken Bouillon Powder(can use beef in place of chicken)
2 tspns. Onion Powder
1/2 tspns. Garlic Powder
1/4 tspn. Tyme (leave out if using beef powder)
Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container. To use place 1 cup of mix in saucepan with 2 tablespoons butter. Sautee rice mixture quickly and pour in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil,reduce heat,cover and simmer until rice is tender. The timing will be different for everyone I think. The original recipe said 15-20mins but mine only took 8 minutes. I noticed recipe on my box of rice said it cooked in 8minutes so timing will vary.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

I took my never fail biscuit supreme recipe and made garlic cheese biscuits. These are super simple to make. To my regular recipe I added in 1/2 cup cheese and 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder. In a saucepan I combined 2 tablespoons butter,1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon dried parsley. I melted it and brushed the tops of the biscuits when they came out of the oven. Yum yum

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Mint Cookies

I'm a huge mint fan. My favorite ice cream is chocolate with mint,I love eating Andes mints and I just love mint milkshakes! I of course can't find mint ice cream here(I'm so buying an ice cream maker this summer and making my own) and they don't sell the andes mint baking chips. However my Dad sent me some for christmas(thanks Dad and Carole:o) and Im saving those for a super special occasion. While I was grocery shopping the other day I spotted thin chocolate mint sticks that people would serve here with their coffee. A light bulb went off,I bought 6 boxes and came home to try it out. It worked and it's great! You will not enjoy this cookie unless you are a true mint fan. It's loaded with minty goodness and those who only sorta like mints will not appreciate what this cookie has to offer. It comes together quickly and has a nice soft inside.These cookies do not spread and keep a very nice shape so make sure to not make them to big or the cooking time will be off.
Andes Mint Cookies
1/2 cup Butter
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt(if using salted butter leave this out)
2 2/3 cup Flour
1 Pkg.(10 oz) Andes Baking Chips or chopped up mints
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees or 180 celcius. In large mixing bowl cream the butter,both sugars,eggs and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. Combine flour,salt,baking powder and soda and add to mixture. Mix until just combined and then add in your mints. Mix in with wooden spoon. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoon. Bake for 8-10mins,cool on sheet for 2 mins and then transfer to wire rack. Around 3 dozen or slightly more.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake

I decided to channel my inner domestic goddess self by baking with Nigella today. I have talked about the cookbook I bought from her called How To Be A Domestic Goddess before and how I find it difficult to like alot of what I have made. I wanted to give it a try again and Im glad I did because this time around,the outcome was alot better. Again I think she is great to watch on tv but my overall taste in baked goods are alot different than hers. I decided to try out my mini loaf pans when I baked the cake. This was my first time using grated lemon zest and real lemon juice and WOW does it add a serious citrus boost. These little loaves arent for the faint of heart. Im a huge lemon fan and although I thought this was good, it isnt something I would make all the time. Infact when I do make it again I will cut the lemon juice down by half and see how that works. It has a nice slightly harden crust on the oustide and a moist inside.You can bake this in a 9X5 loaf pan or use mini ones if you have them.
Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake
1/2 cup Butter;softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tblspoon Sugar
2 large Eggs
zest of 1 Lemon
1 cup plus 1 tblspoon Self-rising Cake Flour
pinch of salt

4 TBLSPNS Fresh squeezed lemon juice( 1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees or 180 celcius. If using a 9x5 loaf pan she says to butter it and then line it with parchment or wax paper,making sure the lining comes an inch or so up the sides of the pan for easier unmolding later. If using mini loaf pans use nonstick cooking spray. Cream together the butter and sugar, and add the eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well. Add the flour and salt,folding in gently but thoroughly, and then the milk. Spoon into prepared loaf pans and place in oven. Bake for 45min if using the 9X5 or 25mins for the mini ones. As always check for doneness by the toothpick in middle test.
While it's cooking place the syrup ingredients in saucepan and heating gently so that the sugar dissolves. When the cake is done,take it out of the oven and prick several holes all over and spoon the syrup over the top evenly. Try to let the middle abosrb the syrup aswell as the sides and leave it alone to absorb the rest. She suggests leaving in the cake pan/s to cool completely but not letting it stay in there to long or it will be hard to get out. I honestly only left my mini ones in there maybe 15mins but she said it could take up to an hour for the larger loaf to cool down.