Sunday, April 10, 2016

Morning Buns

Morning Buns originated at The Ovens of Brittany Restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin around 1970. By 1984 the smallest of their four Restaurants was selling 3500 Buns during the weekdays and even more on the week end. The recipe gradually made it's way Westward. The East Coast is not known for them. They're different than Cinnamon Rolls. They're made with a light, flaky and buttery Croissant Dough rather than the Bread like Dough of a Cinnamon Roll.
The recipe is adapted from Cook's Illustrated Holiday 2012.

Here's what you'll need:
1 - 12 C Muffin Tin lined with Paper Cupcake Liners and sprayed with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.
A Rimmed Sheet Pan, Parchment Paper and Plastic Wrap.
You'll preheat the oven later in the recipe.

Dough Ingredients
3 C Flour
1 TBS Granulated Sugar + additional if you want to Sprinkle the finished Buns.
2 1/4 tsp Instant Rapid Rise Yeast
3/4 tsp Salt
24 TBS Butter, chilled and cubed. (3 sticks)
1 C Cold Sour Cream
1/2 C Cold Orange Juice
3 TBS Ice Water
1 Egg Yolks

Filling Ingredients
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1 TBS Orange Zest
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla

Dough Instructions
In a Large 1 Gallon Ziploc Storage Bag: (they have easy open tabs, easy to use with a tight seal.)

Seal and Shake until Butter is completely coated.
Press the air out of the bag.
Use a Rolling Pin and Roll over the Bag several times, shaking it after each time.
Continue until you can see large flakes of Butter.
Transfer to a Large Mixing Bowl.

Sour Cream
Orange Juice
Egg Yolk
Stir to combine well with a Wooden Spoon.
Transfer Dough to a Lightly Floured surface.
Briefly knead it and form a Smooth Ball.

Place the Ball onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll it out into a 12" X 20" Rectangle with the Shortest end toward you.

Begin at the 12" end and Roll tightly away from you.
Pat the log into a 12" X 4" rectangle.
Place it on a Rimmed Sheet Pan lined with Parchment Paper.
Cover the entire Sheet Pan with plastic wrap and Freeze for 15 minutes.

Filling Instructions
In a Medium Bowl:
Granulated Sugar
Brown Sugar
Orange Zest
Mix well.

Transfer Dough to a Floured Surface.
Roll out to a 12" X 20" Rectangle with the long side toward you.

Sprinkle evenly with Filling, leaving a 1/2" Border on all four sides.
Gently press the Filling into the Dough.
Roll tightly away from you.
Pinch the seam to seal it.
Trim the ends with a sharp knife.

Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces.
Place them cut side down in the prepared Muffin Tin.
Cover the entire Pan with Plastic Wrap.
Refrigerate 4 hours or even overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Once it has reached the temperature, turn it off.
Remove the Plastic Wrap.
Put the Pan in the oven with the door ajar for 20 - 30 minutes.

Remove it from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Return the Pan to the Oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for 40 - 50 minutes.

Transfer the Pan to a Rack.
Remove the Buns from the Liners and place them on a Serving Platter.
Sprinkle with additional Granulated Sugar if desired.
Serve Hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Elderflower Pudding

I recently learned about St. Germain (Elderflower Liqueur.) I wrote an entire post, with a variety of Cocktail recipes.
I created this Pudding with the taste of Elderflower using St. Germain.
The recipe consists of a Pudding and a Topping that's added to individual servings.

St. Germain  (Elderflower) Liqueur

Here's what you'll need:
1 - 2 Quart Soufflé Dish

Elderflower Pudding:

1/2 C Cornstarch
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
4 C Whole Milk
2 TBS St. Germain Liqueur + 1/4 C for the Raisins.

1/4 C Golden Raisins
1/4 C St. Germain Liqueur
1/2 C Slivered Almonds that have been toasted. (I toast mine in a dry Cast Iron Skillet on the Stove, just until they turn Golden Brown.) Watch them closely, they can burn easily.

In a Saucepan:
Whisk well.
Gradually Whisk in a Slow Stream of the Milk until completely incorporated.
Transfer to the Stove on Medium Low Heat.
Whisk occasionally while heating for 8 - 10 minutes as it begins to thicken.

When it coats the back of a Wooden Spoon, whisk in the St. Germain.
Continue Whisking and Cooking for an additional 2 - 4 minutes.
It should become very thick.

Strain it through a Fine Sieve into the Soufflé Dish.
Gently cover the entire surface of the Pudding with Plastic Wrap
to keep it from forming a skin.
Refrigerate for 3 hours .

Prepare the Garnish:
Soak the Raisins in the Liqueur for 3 hours.
Toast the Almonds.

Just prior to serving, garnish each individual serving with Raisins and Almonds.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Baked Omelette in a Cast Iron Skillet

This could be called a Frittata, an Omelette, Baked Egg Casserole, etc.
I like recipes made in Cast Iron.

"If you are not familiar with the advantages of iron versus a regular nonstick frying pan, here’s the deal: Iron cookware actually makes food taste better. But more than that, it will cook your food evenly, is incredibly versatile (moves seamlessly from stovetop to oven to the top of a grill) and leaves trace amounts of iron in your diet. The pan you’ll never have to wash is also the pan you’ll never have to get rid of – take care of it, and you’ll be passing it on to your grandchildren."
"The main reason most people choose to cook with iron is because of its superior ability to retain heat. But forged iron, from which this pan is made, is even better at getting hot and staying hot than cast iron, because of the continuous, rather than molded, metal grain."
This is my new favorite Forged Iron Skillet.

Baked Omelette in a Cast Iron Skillet.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1 - 10" Cast Iron Skillet

3 TBS Butter
1/2 C Diced Green Onions
1/2 C Diced Green Bell Pepper
8 Large Eggs
1/4 C Half and Half
1/2  C Shredded Gruyere Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste. (remember that the Cheese can be very salty)

In the Skillet on Medium High Heat:
Butter, heated until melted.
Bell Pepper
Cook for 5 minutes.

In a Large Mixing Bowl:
Half and Half
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Beat until well combined with a Whisk or a Blending Fork.

Pour into the Skillet.
Stir just until combined.

Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and serve Hot.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Truffles, a variety of Truffle recipes

I believe there are two ingredients in life that are really good for you, my Cardiologist agrees........ Dark Chocolate and Wine.
I love Truffles. They're one of the few desserts that I don't feel guilty about eating. The other is Cheesecake and I have only 1 recipe that I make. It's on the Blog.

(I don't roll the Chocolate Balls in my hands to make them smooth and perfect. I like Chocolate Truffles to look natural. If you've ever seen a Truffle, it's very rustic in shape. That's how I want my Chocolate Truffles to look.) You can use 2 spoons to scoop out the Chocolate or use a small cookie scoop.

Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur

Hazelnut Truffles

Here's what you'll need:
1 - 8" X 8" Glass Baking Dish
1 - Sheet Pan lined with Parchment Paper

10 oz. of Dark Chocolate Chips. I weigh them.
2 TBS Butter
1/2 C Heavy Cream
1/2 C Nutella
1 tsp Vanilla
3 TBS Hazelnut Liqueur
3/4 C Finely Chopped Toasted Hazelnuts.
(I toast Whole Nuts on the stove in a dry Cast Iron Skillet.)
I do a lot of Hazelnuts at the beginning of the Holiday Season and store them
in an airtight container at room temperature. I always have them available to chop for
all of my Holiday Recipes.

In a Double Boiler:
Chocolate Chips
Heat and stir until creamy and smooth.
Set aside for 10 minutes.

Whisk in:

Spoon evenly into the baking dish and smooth it with an offset spatula.
Cover with Plastic Wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. (not longer, so it's still soft enough to scoop)

Use a 1 1/2" Cookie Scoop and drop the Truffles onto the Sheet Pan.
Roll them in crushed Hazelnuts and refrigerate them in a covered container until ready to serve.
(I put them in a Tupperware Container lined with waxed paper.)

Peace in the Kitchen!

Here's another great Holiday recipe.
I like the combination of these ingredients in a Truffle.

Orange Hazelnut Truffles

1 container (16oz.) Dark Chocolate Fudge Frosting
2 3/4 C Confectioner's Sugar
2 tsp Pure Orange Extract
1 1/2 C Kellog's Cocoa Krispies Cereal
2 C finely chopped Hazelnuts

In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer:
Beat until creamy smooth.

Orange Extract
Beat until combined.

Stir in, by hand:
Cocoa Krispies
Mix well.
Use a 1 1/2" Cookie Scoop .
Drop Truffles onto the Sheet Pan.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Roll the Truffles in Hazelnuts.
Cover and refrigerate again until ready to serve.
(At this step I put them in Covered Plastic containers to refrigerate them.)

Peace in the Kitchen!

Love Pumpkin? Can't make a Pie? Here's a great dessert to serve during the Holidays.

Pumpkin Gingersnap Truffles and Pumpkin Cheese Cream Truffles

Pumpkin Gingersnap Truffles:

1 1/4 C Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/3 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Heavy Cream
3/4 C roughly chopped Gingersnaps (10 cookies)
1/3 C finely  crushed Gingersnap Cookies for rolling the cookies.

In a medium bowl:
Chocolate Chips
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Mix well.
Set aside

In a microwave safe bowl:
Heavy Cream
Heat for 1 minute.
Pour over the Chocolate Mixture.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Whisk well.
Fold in roughly chopped Gingersnaps.
Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

In a small mixing bowl:
Finely crushed Gingersnaps.
Using a 1 1/2" cookie scoop, shape the truffles and roll in the crushed Gingersnaps.
Place them on a Sheet Pan lined with Parchment Paper and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours.
Store refrigerated in a covered container.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles:

1/2 C White Chocolate Chips
2 C White Chocolate Almond Bark (4 - 5 squares)
1/3 C Gingerbread Cookie Crumbs + more for garnish
1/4 C Graham Cracker Crumbs + more for garnish
1/4 C canned Pumpkin Puree
1 TBS Confectioner's Sugar
1/2 tsp Orange Zest
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
A pinch of Salt
2 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

Melt 1/2 C White Chips in a microwave
Stir often
Transfer to a large bowl.

Add Gingersnap Crumbs, Pumpkin, Graham Cracker Crumbs, Sugar,
Zest, Cinnamon, Salt and Cream Cheese , beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Transfer to a shallow bowl, cover and chill until solid enough to roll into a truffle, about 2 hours.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Melt remaining 2 C of almond bark and transfer to a small bowl.

Using a 1 1/2"  cookie scoop form the truffles, roll in your hands and drop into the chocolate.

Gently spoon the chocolate to coat the truffles.

Using a spoon or a  fork to lift the truffles out of the chocolate, shake off excess and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle the tops with extra gingerbread cookie and graham cracker crumbs.

Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Mexican Truffles:

6 oz. Cream Cheese , softened
2 C Powdered Sugar
8 oz. Taza Mexicano Chocolate, melted and cooled slightly ( Cinnamon, Chipotle Chili, Guajillo Chili, Orange or Coffee ) These are the choices of flavors. Choose your favorite or make a variety to serve.
2 tsp vanilla
1 C crushed Kellogg's Cinnabon Cereal
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

In a large bowl:
Beat Cream Cheese until creamy
Beat in Sugar, Chocolate and Vanilla
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour

In a small bowl:
Cinnabon Cereal
Cayenne Pepper

Scoop out the chocolate mixture with a small cookie scoop and roll in your hands to make a misshapen truffle.
Roll each truffle in the cereal mixture

Refrigerate in a covered container

Peace in the Kitchen!

When Spring approaches, I think about chocolate. Well, actually I think about Chocolate often, but maybe I think about it more during Easter and Christmas.  Anyway, Spring is near and here are two recipes for Chocolate Truffles.

I've had a recipe for Holiday Truffle Balls that I've made for Christmas since  the 70's. It's a simple recipe and very good. Recently I discovered another recipe that's a bit more intricate, but they look amazing and they're cut into squares.

Holiday Truffle Balls:

 2 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 C Orange Liqueur
1 can of Pillsbury Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Items to dip:
Cocoa Powder
Chocolate Sprinkles
Crushed Pecans
Confectioner's Sugar

Melt Chocolate Chips in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, a double boiler is better, and ( today as I write this, we've learned to successfully melt chocolate in a microwave). Your choice.
Remove from heat
Stir in liqueur and frosting
Blend well
Refrigerate for 2 hours

Scoop mixture into balls with a small cookie scoop
Roll the truffles in your favorite coating
Place in foil candy cups and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Chocolate Truffle Squares:

I wish I had the right to post a photograph of these. It was the picture that drew me to this recipe from Food52. I'll post a picture as soon as I make them. The recipe comes from Alice Medrich. Her book is titled (Seriously Bitter Sweet). She said the original recipe is from her French landlady. This is her adaptation of the original recipe that Alice says is still a treasure. I take that to mean that her landlady did not share it. I absolutely understand that..... well maybe not anymore. I used to keep many of my original recipes a secret  and then I decided to write this blog and share everything.
This recipe may seem a bit intimidating, but I've discovered that some of the best results come from complicated recipes. I've never been intimidated by any recipe. I hope that someone takes the time to make these truffles. I know I will.
It's recommended to serve these with a good Cabernet Sauvignon wine! Sounds good to me.

2 large egg yolks
1 pound of bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, no more that 62% cocoa, coarsely chopped.
10 TBS butter, 1 1/4 sticks, cut into cubes.
1/8 tsp salt, preferably fine sea salt.
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder.

Food Processor
Fine Mesh Strainer
8" Square Baking Pan, bottom and sides lined with foil.

Put egg yolks in a small stainless steel bowl set in a larger container of very hot water to heat the yolks just until barely lukewarm, set aside.

Put the chocolate, butter and salt in another medium stainless steel bowl, set it in a wide skillet of barely simmering water, stirring until the chocolate and butter are melted, smooth and quite warm.

Scrape the chocolate into a food processor and set a strainer over the processor bowl.

Bring 1/2 C water to a boil in a small saucepan or in a glass measuring cup in the microwave.

Remove the egg yolk bowl from the large container and immediately pour the water steadily into the yolks, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. When the yolks and water are blended, pour the mixture through the strainer against the processor bowl to encourage all of the liquid to flow through but don't press on, or mess with any bits of cooked egg in the strainer.
Process the mixture for a few seconds, then scrape the bowl and process again for 20 - 30 seconds or as long as it takes for the mixture to thicken and resemble pudding.

Scrape it into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Cool completely.

Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours.

Place the cocoa in a small bowl.
Use the foil liner to remove the sheet of chocolate.
Invert onto a cutting board and peel off the liner.
Cut into 1" squares.
Toss them in the cocoa, adding more cocoa as needed.
Shake them gently in a coarse strainer to remove excess cocoa.

Store in a tightly covered container.
Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Remove the truffles from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving.
Sift a little extra cocoa over them as necessary.

Remember to serve them with a good Cabernet !

Peace in the Kitchen!

Starbucks Coffee Truffles

This is an adapted recipe.

1/3 C + 2 TBS Heavy Cream
1/2 TBS Butter
1 Packet of Starbuck's Via instant coffee.
1 C Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Cocoa Powder & Finely chopped Pecans for garnish.

In a saucepan on medium heat>
Heavy Cream
Heat to simmer.
Butter, stirring often until melted.
Add Via, stirring to incorporate well.
Add: Chocolate Chips, stirring until completely melted.

Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Use a small cookie scoop and roll the truffles in the palm of your hand until smooth.

Dust either with Cocoa Powder or Chopped Pecans.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Malted Milk Ball Truffles:

8 oz. Dark Chocolate (Valrhona, Caillbot, Ghirardelli)
1/2 C Heavy Cream
5 TBS Malted Milk Powder

2 TBS Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
6 TBS Malted Milk Powder
Whisk together in a small bowl and set aside.

In a small Glass Bowl:

In a small Saucepan on Medium High Heat:
Malted Milk Powder
Whisk until well combined.
Bring to a Boil.
Immediately remove from heat and pour over the Chocolate.
Stir constantly with a small Silicone Spatula until completely melted and creamy smooth.
Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Use a small cookie scoop and drop a ball of Chocolate into the Cocoa Mix.
Toss and coat completely.
Transfer all of the Truffles into Waxed Paper lined container, cover and refrigerate until serving.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Raisin Cream Pie

I love Raisin Cream Pie. Whenever we visit our relatives in Kansas, we always eat at a local Mennonite Restaurant that has the most amazing Pie. It's so good that you have to order Pie first, just to make sure it will be available after your dinner. I always order Raisin Cream. It was one of my Father in law's favorite pies too.
Here's a simple Amish/Mennonite recipe for Raisin Cream Pie.

Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
1 - 9" Pie Pan with 1- 9" Homemade Pie Crust. You can also purchase a crust.

2 C Raisins
2 C Water, divided
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
3 TBS Cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Allspice
A Pinch of Salt
1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
3 TBS Butter

In a Medium Saucepan on Medium Heat:
2/3 C Water
Cook for 5 minutes stirring often.
Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl:
Brown Sugar
Granulated Sugar
Whisk well.
Gradually Whisk in 1 1/3 C Water
Whisk well.
Pour into the Raisins.
Return to Medium Heat and continue cooking just until it begins to bubble.

Continue cooking just until the butter melts and is combined well.
Remove from heat and set aside just until it's warm.

Pour into the Crust.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove to a rack to cool completely.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Steamed Eggs

I have a post on the Blog called Tips, Hints and More. I researched a variety of great hints that make cooking easier. There are some incredible ones. My favorite is how to Shuck Corn using a Microwave. I also receive recipes and tips from Blogs that I follow, and occasionally I pass them on to my readers.
I realize that some people have difficulty making the perfect Eggs, whether Poached, 3 Minute, Hard Boiled, Scrambled and even Fried. I've even Frothed Eggs with my Espresso Machine and they are the lightest and creamiest Scrambled Eggs I have ever eaten. When I discovered several posts about Steaming Eggs, I was fascinated. I haven't tried this yet but I'll post photographs and the results, when I do.

Here's what you'll need:
1 Saucepan with a Lid and a Collapsible Vegetable Steamer (the one in the photograph above) or a Pot with a Pasta Colander.

Eggs (enough to just cover the bottom of the pot in a single layer.)  The size of the Pot will determine how many Eggs you can steam at one time.

Place Eggs in the Steamer Basket or Colander.
Fill the Pot with just enough water so the Eggs are not touching the water.
Cover it.
Bring to a Boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the Eggs .
Allow them to cool just until you can handle them.

Peel and Serve.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Friday, April 1, 2016

St. Germain Liqueur recipes

We recently discovered the floral taste of Gt. Germain Liqueur. It's made from the Elderflower. It's a great addition to a Cocktail.
Here are some of my favorite St. Germain Cocktail recipes.

Most all of the recipes are made by adding Ice to a Cocktail Shaker, the Ingredients, Shake and Strain into a Cocktail Glass. So I won't repeat these directions.

My new Summer Drink:
 Gin, St. Germain Elder Flower Liqueur, Violette Liqueur
and Brûlée Brandied Cherries.

I make a Cocktail with 2 oz. Vodka or Gin, 1 oz. St. Germain Liqueur, 1 tsp of Italian Cherry Syrup and one of the Cherries.
Here's the Jar of  Italian Cherries that I use:

I'll start with the basic Rive Gauche Martini:
1 1/2 parts Gin
1 part St. Germain
1 part Sauvignon Blanc White Wine
Garnish with a Lime Twist.
Serve in a Martini Glass

French Gimlet:
2 parts Gin
1 part St. Germain
1/2 part Lime Juice
Garnish with a Lime Twist

Mojito Parisien:
10 Fresh Mint Leaves
2 parts White Rum
1 part St. Germain
1 part Lime Juice
Club Soda
Muddle Mint Leaves in a Tom Collins Glass.
Add the next three ingredients.
Top off with Club Soda.

St. Germain Cosmopolitan:
2 oz. Citrus Vodka
1 oz. Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
1/4 oz. St. Germain

St, Germain Spritzer:
3 oz. Sauvignon Blanc White Wine
2 oz. St. Germain
Soda Water
Lemon Twist

Warsaw Splendor:
4 parts Absolut Vodka
1 part Apricot Brandy
3 parts Lime Juice
1 part St. Germain
Serve in a Martini Glass

Bramble Mimosa:
1 part Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1 part Blackberry Liqueur
1 part St. Germain
Top off with Champagne.
Serve in a Champagne Glass

La Rosette:
1 oz. St. Germain
Top off with Champagne
Garnish with a Strawberry

La Lumiere:
1 1/2 oz. Gin
1 oz. St. Germain
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
3/4 oz. Green Chartreuse

Spicy Fifty:
2 parts Absolut Vodka
1 part Lime Juice
1 part Honey
1/2 part St. Germain
Garnish with a piece of Jalapeño.
Serve in a Martini Glass

St. Germain with  equal parts of Absolut Pears of any flavored Absolut Vodka.
Serve on the Rocks.

Peace in the Kitchen!