Tag Archives: food

Baklava

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If you’ve ever had a bad experience with baklava and aren’t disposed to try this recipe, I hope you think again: I’ve always tried baklava at restaurants and have been seriously disappointed, but this recipe is simply addictive. I prefer my baklava without pistachios or honey, and I find that it is best served cold, rather than warm, because the sugar syrup tastes better. You can make this ahead and store at room temperature for days — it’ll keep a while, and only tastes better with a few days to let the sugars sink in.

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Baklava is also incredibly simple to make — it does require some patience, but it’s not a complex process. The key is to use a lot of butter between every single layer of phyllo — otherwise the pastry will flake apart after it’s been baked. (Plus, everything tastes better with butter.) To work with the phyllo, I recommend thawing it in the fridge for a good 4-8 hours before you begin baking. If it’s too frozen, it will flake, and if it’s too thawed it will be sticky and the layers impossible to separate. If it does flake apart (this happened to me when I made this batch of baklava), don’t worry — just try and fill the pan as best you can by piecing layers together.

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Finally, I recommend using a pyrex glass casserole dish for baklava (as pictured). Your baklava will bake perfectly and it’s just the right size for the phyllo sheets.

Here’s the recipe (adapted from here):

Ingredients

For the syrup:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (you can also substitute orange blossom water)

For the pastry:

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons rose water (or orange blossom water)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 16-ounce package frozen phyllo pastry, thawed

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Directions

  1. To make sugar syrup, boil together sugar and water for about 2 minutes over high heat, being careful it does not burn or boil over. Just before removing from heat, stir in the rose water. Let cool slightly, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. To make the pastry, first clarify the butter. Melt in a pan over gentle heat. Spoon off the milky froth that rises to the top and the solid residue that settles to the bottom. One pound of butter should yield about 1 1/2 cups clarified butter. You can pour the butter into a mug for ease of use later on.
  3. Place walnuts and rose water in bowl of food processor and process in spurts until walnuts are minced. (The rose water helps keep walnuts from getting oily.) Add sugar and process briefly to mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Spread a sheet of plastic wrap or aluminum foil on a work surface. Open phyllo pastry and spread on the surface.
  6. Using the clarified butter and a pastry brush or clean paintbrush, butter a 10- by 14-inch baking pan liberally, bottom and sides. Place one sheet of phyllo pastry in bottom of pan (only half the sheet will fit). Butter surface of pastry, then fold the other half over and butter it. Proceed with the remaining sheets, buttering each one, until you have used about half the sheets in the box. The phyllo sheets should be somewhat crowded in the pan, folded up a little along the sides and at each end. Be sure to butter the corners of the pastry.
  7. Distribute the walnut mixture over the pastry in an even layer.
  8. Place the remaining phyllo sheets over the walnut mixture, again buttering liberally between each layer. When all the sheets have been used, cut the pastry with a sharp knife lengthwise into strips about 1 inch wide, then on the diagonal to make diamonds. Be sure to cut right down through to the bottom of the pan. Pour any remaining clarified butter over the top of the pastry.
  9. Place in oven for 30 minutes, then raise temperature to 425 degrees and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown on top. Remove from oven and immediately pour cold syrup over hot pastry. Set aside to cool to room temperature before serving.

Enjoy! This is a fantastic recipe, and great for entertaining — I guarantee it’ll be a hit.

— Halie

10-Grain Muffins

Picture 2I love Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain hot cereal and when I saw a muffin recipe using the cereal I knew I had to try it.  These muffins are great for breakfast or snacking plus they are easy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cup bob’s red mill multi grain cereal
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the cereal and the buttermilk in a bowl.
  3. Let the cereal and buttermilk mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the egg and mix.
  6. Then add the dry ingredients and mix.
  7. Once 10 minutes has elapsed add the milk mixture stirring until combined.
  8. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 15 minutes.

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These muffins are great, but I bet they would be even better if you added apples and honey or even raisins.  Let me know if you find any great mix-ins!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Peppermint Joy

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I wanted to bake for our family and friends for the holidays.  I went a little overboard with the peppermint theme and made candy cane cookies, peppermint brownies, and peppermint truffles.  Each of these recipes are great for the holidays.  I also made a trip to Michaels and found the perfect packaging.

Candy Cane Cookies:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Cream together margarine, white sugar, and powdered sugar.
  2. Beat in egg, vanilla, and peppermint extract.
  3. Combine with flour, and salt.
  4. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  6. Grease cookie sheets
  7. Divide dough into half
  8. Color one half of the dough with the red food coloring.
  9. Using half white dough and half red dough make candy canes.

10. Bake for 10 minutes.

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These cookies are so simple and a great holiday recipe.

Peppermint Brownies:

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Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 (1.55 ounce) Milk chocolate bars, broken into chunks
  • 1 cup of chopped peppermint chocolate (found at whole foods)
  • ½ cup of crushed candy canes for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and 8X12 baking pan.
  3. Using a double boiler melt unsweetened chocolate and margarine in bowl.
  4. Whisk until chocolate is melted and stir in sugar.
  5. Add eggs, extracts, and salt.
  6. Gradually add flour and stir until combined.
  7. Spread ½ the batter into the pan.
  8. Top batter with milk chocolate
  9. Add second half of batter.

10. Top with peppermint chocolate.

11. Bake for 35 minutes.

12. Top with crushed candy canes.

These were honestly one of the top brownies I have ever had.  I promise.  You need to give these a try!!!

Peppermint Truffles:

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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of good semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of crushed candy canes
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate using a double boiler.
  2. Whisk until smooth and mix in cream.
  3. Stir in peppermint extract and crushed candy canes.
  4. Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Roll chocolate into one-inch balls.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  7. Enjoy!

This was my first time making truffles and I will say that it was not as easy as I expected.  There are very messy, but worth it!  Happy Holidays!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Toffee Sauce

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I know it isn’t quite time for fall recipes any more but I made this wonderful bread pudding for Thanksgiving and forgot to post it.  I have had a slight obsession with bread pudding lately.  It’s so warm and comforting.  This recipe took the place of our pumpkin pie this year.

Ingredients

For the Bread Pudding:

  • 1 loaf of challah bread
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Toffee Sauce:

  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Bread Pudding:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Cut loaf of challah into one-inch cubes.
  3. Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, milk, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt.
  4. Place bread cubes into a large baking pan and pour custard over the bread.  Make sure that all of the bread is covered in custard.  Using challah bread is the secret to this bread pudding.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

For the Toffee Sauce:

  1. Place the butter, sugar, and cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Stir occasionally.
  3. Let boil for about 3 minutes.
  4. Then remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

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This recipe is extremely easy.  My whole family loved it.  Give it a try!

Enjoy,

Lizzie

French Apple Tart

Hello!


I apologize for not posting since July!  I know it has been a while since I have posted, but I have been busy. Halie and I have just started our freshman year at college.  We are on opposite sides of the country, but we continue to talk about food even though we have not blogged about it.  This weekend I was home for my fall break.  My parents had a couple of their friends over for dinner, and of course I was put on dessert duty.  I wanted to make something festive for fall so, I bought the food network magazine to read on my plane ride home.  I chose Ina Garten’s French Apple Tart because one can never go wrong with Ina right?  This tart was a hit and had everyone at the dinner table raving!  I highly suggest it, its very easy.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 12 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks)
  • ½ cup ice water

For the apples:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice (my own addition)
  • 4 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • ½ cup apricot jelly
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Directions:

For the pastry:

  1. Place flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or blender (or mix all by hand).
  2. Pulse for a few seconds to combine
  3. Add butter and combine until butter is in small pieces
  4. Pour the ice water in parts until the dough starts to combine
  5. Make dough into a ball and refrigerate for 1 hour

For the apples:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Shape dough into the pan
  4. Peel, and core apples
  5. Slice apples and arrange in rows
  6. Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice
  7. Dust apples with sugar mixture
  8. Dot apples with butter
  9. Bake for 1 hour until apples are golden on top

10. Heat jelly and water until they simmer

11. Once tart is out of the oven brush with apricot mixture

12. Serve warm or room temperature

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Coconut Rice Pudding

My mom came home from the grocery store the other day with coconut water.  She told my brother and I that she was going to make us drink it because she heard how good for you it was.  It was like a repeat of the time she became obsessed with kale.  I know coconut water has been “in” for a while but I never wanted to try it due to my bad experience drinking out of a coconut in Nicaragua.  The coconut water was disgusting.  Anyways, I decided to try the drink and was pleasantly surprised.  I liked it.  I started thinking of a coconut dessert other than coconut cake.  My dad likes rice pudding so I thought it would be a nice thing to make it for him.  This pudding also has a crispy coconut topping and is made with vanilla bean.

Ingredients:

Crispy Coconut Topping:

  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups sweetened coconut shavings

Pudding:

  • 2 cans light unsweetened coconut milk (27 ounces)
  • 1 can regular unsweetened coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup jasmine rice (regular rice is also fine)
  • 2/3 cup of sweetened coconut shavings
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

Crispy Coconut Topping:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Combine egg whites, and vanilla in a bowl
  3. In a large bowl mix the coconut and egg mixture well
  4. Spread coconut mixture on a baking sheet and bake about 20 minutes or until coconut is crispy.

Pudding:

  1. Combine light coconut milk, regular coconut milk, vanilla extract, vanilla bean, salt, and sugar in a large pot.
  2. Add coconut and uncooked rice.
  3. Bring the mixture to a bowl on high heat.
  4. Then reduce to a simmer for about 1 hour or until pudding has set.
  5. Serve with crispy coconut as a garnish.

This dessert is great and extremely fragrant.  Give it a try!

Enjoy!,

Lizzie

Oreo Truffles


These are absolutely one of the easiest truffles to make and they only require 3 ingredients!  They are so decadent I highly encourage you to give this recipe a try!

Ingredients:

  • One package of Oreos
  • One 8 ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups of white chocolate

Directions:

  1. Place one half of the box of Oreos into a large ziplock bag and use a rolling-pin to crush them as fine as possible.  Do this with the second half of the Oreos.
  2. Mix Oreo crumbs and cream cheese extremely well.  I used my hands which made it a lot easier.
  3. Make one inch balls from the Oreo mixture and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  5. Melt the white chocolate and let cool till it has reached room temperature.
  6. Cover the truffles in white chocolate and let set!
  7. Once the chocolate has hardened your truffles are ready!

I know its easy to be skeptical about this recipe considering its basically just Oreos and cream cheese but the result is amazing.  My brother was in the kitchen while I was making these and he thought the mixture of Oreos and cream cheese was disgusting.  However, I convinced him to try a truffle once they were done.  He couldn’t stop eating them.  Just like the rest of my family.  These truffles are definitely a crowd pleaser and would be an easy desert to bring to others.

Enjoy!,

Lizzie