Sunday, February 13, 2011

Moving!


I'm moving. No not to the mountains (I wish)... to tumblr!
I needed a change for spike.bakes and I think a tumblr switch might do me some good. I'll still be posting on my baking but a few other things might pop up in between.

Check it out: http://spikebakes.tumblr.com/

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nana & Papa Cookies


My Nana and Papa always had andes mints at their apartment. I loved the little mints with their green wrappers. I couldn't just call these cookies "Andes Mint Cookies" as they're commonly known, that wouldn't do. I made a few tweaks and felt justified in renaming them after my grandparents.

This recipe made a million cookies. I made them for a friend who had a birthday last week but then had a bunch more that I gave to more friends and family. If you want a ton of cookies, follow as written. Or you could try bigger cookies with a full mint on top. I'm pretty sure the dough would freeze well too.

Nana & Papa Cookies
Makes 40+ cookies

3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoons vanilla
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 cups mint chips (optional but adds extra mint, I found some guittard chips that worked)
Andes mint candies, cut in half (about 1 package)

Over low heat, combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Heat until melted and add chocolate chips until partly melted. Remove from heat and stir. The batter may be a little grainy at this point. Pour into large mixing bowl. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture one at a time on medium speed. Reduce mixer to low speed and add flour mixture. Beat just until flour disappears. Mix in the mint chips if you're usin them. Chill the dough for 1 hour, until the dough firms up a bit.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Roll dough into balls, place two inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Place an Andes Mint half on top. Return to the oven for 60 seconds, allowing the mint to melt slightly. Remove from the oven and spread mint around a bit with a spoon. Let cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Great Grains(!) Muffins

In my head I've been calling these Great Scott! Muffins.I made this recicpe twice in the last week. The first time I did a half batch. I keep them plain, just grains and a subtle maple taste- no added nuts, fruit, chocolate. They were so perfect for breakfast that I made them again, this time a full batch.This is a simple but great recipe. Good plain, even better toasted with peanut butter. Happy Tummy is hosting this week so find the recipe over there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This week's TWD pick comes from my pal Jennifer. Early on in participating in this group I took a look at Jennifer's blog and saw that she was also from Medford, MA. Turns out we lived just a few minutes apart. She and I have been a team for operation baking GALS for about the last year and a half. She always posts some great recipes and this one was a fantastic pick.

I read all the warnings about cakes sticking to the pan in advance. I prepared for cake battle by dutifully greasy and flouring my already non stick pan. I covered up the swirl in the middle with batter- all the tricks other bakers had shared. When it was out of the oven, I took a quick picture before unmolding.

Held my breath, flipped the pan and:
It stuck. At least this cake had the good sense of being delicious to make up for the appearance. I loved the chocolate cinnamon combo and the good sour cream taste of the cake. Great pick! Find the recipe on Jennifer's blog.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lemon Muffins


I was glad to be reminded of this recipe this morning. After a long commute to work due to more snow, I realized that I had my lunch but nothing for the morning. Luckily I remembered that I had stashed a few of these muffins in the freezer a couple of weeks ago when I made them.

I left out the poppy seeds. I don't like the way they get stuck in my teeth. I have a great fear of walking around all day with a mouth full of poppy seeds. Oh the horror! However, the muffin is nice on its own, just a light lemon flavor. Very nice toasted with butter. Not anything to crazy, but just right for the morning. Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness has the recipe here. Now I still need to make last week's recipe...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Gooey Butter Cake

I'll be late on my TWD post this week, but I'm sure that Margot picked a winner (Madeleines filled with fluff? yes please). Until they are baked and posted, I have this gooey butter cake for you.

My sister in law request chocolate sauce for her birthday treat so I picked out this cake to go with it. Part of the cake is yeasted, so there is some down time involved in making the cake. The top layer is butter and sugar goodness (a few other things too). When it bakes, you get these deep craters- perfect for filling with chocolate sauce.

Gooey Butter Cake
Adapted from Melissa Clark at the New York Times
Yields 16 to 20 servings

For the cake
3 tablespoons milk at room temperature
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the topping
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

hot fudge for the top, maybe a little ice cream too.

Make the cake dough: In a small bowl, mix milk with 2 tablespoons warm water. Add yeast and whisk gently until it dissolves. Mixture should foam slightly.

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and the milk mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition. Beat dough for a few minutes- it will be a very soft dough.

Press and stretch dough the best you can into an greased 9-by 13-inch baking dish at least 2 inches deep. Cover dish with plastic wrap, put in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled, 2 to 3 hours.

Make the gooey topping: Heat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare topping, in a small bowl, whisk corn syrup with 2 tablespoons water and the vanilla. Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat in the egg. Alternately add flour and corn syrup mixture, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.

Spoon topping in large dollops over risen cake and use an offset spatula to gently spread it in an even layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes; cake will rise and fall in waves and have a golden brown top, but will still be liquid in center when done. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Paris Mushroom Soup

I love mushrooms, or flavor sponges as those in the know (moi) call them. I made this soup on sunday while half watching the Pats destroy the Dolphins and lamenting that it was my last day off before back to the grind. The soup did make me feel better.

I took a few liberties with the recipe. I added some amazing grey salt with herbs de provence that I have. I added a splash of red wine instead of white because that's what the cabinet held. When blitzing up the first half of the soup in the food processor, it seemed too watery so I took out about a cup of liquid and pureed the rest. I like the consistency better that way. I also left out the little mushroom salad you make for the bottom of the bowl.

This is a great hearty soup, perfect for winter. Not so perfect, however, for photographing. Nothing like a bowl of gray soup. I guess that's why the photo in the book is of the ingredients before they become soup!

Buy this book for the recipe.