Brown Butter Icing

 

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Brown butter takes any recipe you use it in to a whole new level!  The nutty aroma that swirls through the air as it’s turning from plain butter, to a golden brown liquid with tiny specs of mouthwatering goodness, is so enticing!!

I like to use this delectable icing on bundt cakes.  It takes the overall flavor of the cake over the top!  YUMMY!!

Ingredients:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (113 grams)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (227 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 5 tablespoons milk (room temperature)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Instructions:

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will start to bubble. Continue stirring constantly, until  golden brown (about 7-10 minutes).  Immediately remove from heat as soon as it turns golden in color. It can darken very quickly.

Immediately pour the browned butter into a bowl.  Make sure to get most of those brown bits.  They have so much flavor!  Sift confectioners’ sugar into the bowl.  Add the vanilla bean paste, milk and salt to butter and sugar mixture.  Whisk until smooth.  Add more milk if needed.  

Spoon icing over cake and spread with an offset spatula.

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Look at those delicious specs of yumminess!!

I hope you try this delightful icing, and if you do, be sure to post pictures and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  

Enjoy!!

Espresso Salted Caramel Macarons

 

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Happy Macaron Monday friends!!  I’m very excited about these espresso salted caramel macarons!!  I know, I know, I am always excited about macarons, and I’m also excited about sharing them with all of you!

When I posted my lavender strawberry macarons last week, I asked what flavor combinations you would like to see me make and @smalltownlivingusa (follow them on Instagram. You’ll be glad you did!) requested anything mocha or coffee, I immediately got started on making this flavor fusion.  These things are so flippin’ good!!

I start with the macarons.  Although I think you can change the flavor of a macaron by your filling choice, I like to change the flavor of the actual macaron.  I usually do this by tweaking my original recipe.  Blending dehydrated fruits, edible flowers etc. into the flour/confectioners’ sugar mixture, changes the flavor without compromising the texture. It’s important to keep excess moisture out of your batter or it is going to ruin the outcome of your macaron!

With these macarons,  I wanted them to taste like coffee, so I added 2 teaspoons of  King Arthur Flour espresso powder to the almond flour mixture (this is not a paid advertisement, I just really like their product).

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I used my original macaron recipe.  To this I added the espresso powder.  I bake them at 325º degrees (instead of the usual 300º degrees).  The first tray I put in the oven took much longer than the usual 17 minutes. It took 22 minutes and the color was darker than I would have liked, so I raised the temperature to 325º  before baking the second tray.  I baked them for 18 minutes, and they came out just right.  The color and “feet” were perfect.  As I’ve said before, these finicky cookies can be a bit difficult sometimes!

I have found that the macaronage (fancy word for folding process) is very important in the outcome of your macaron.  I have watched many macaron tutorials and recipes and it says to fold the flour mixture into the beaten egg whites until it looks like lava.  Well, that isn’t really a good analogy for me, because I’m not really sure what that looks like.  Fold until your batter is smooth and runs freely from your spatula and forms a figure 8.

I filled these delicious coffee flavored macarons with a whipped chocolate ganache (check out my simple chocolate ganache and whip it until light and fluffy).   I added a teaspoon of espresso powder to enhance the flavor just a bit more!  As if these things weren’t already delectable enough, I spooned a bit of salted caramel into the center (see recipe below).   Did I mention I topped them with a chocolate covered espresso bean?!   Yes friends, this sent these luscious darlings right over the top….oh my!!

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Whipped chocolate ganache dam filled with delicious salted caramel!
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This is optional, but I dusted mine with espresso powder.

These marvelous bites of mocha deliciousness need to be in your macaron arsenal.  I think they are my new favorite (why am I so darned fickle?!!).

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YUM!!! That’s all I have to say about that 🙂

Ganache Recipe:

  • 8 oz. (227 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Instructions:

Heat heavy cream on stove until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let it sit for about three minutes.

Whisk together until ganache comes together and becomes smooth.  Cool to piping consistency.  Beat with mixer until light and fluffy…yum!

Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 1/4 cup water (60 grams)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (55 grams)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (115 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoons extra fine sea salt

Instructions:

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan heat the sugar and water together on high until the sugar has dissolved and water starts to boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil continue stirring until it becomes a deep amber color.  Be careful to watch closely so that it doesn’t burn (you can’t save it once it burns and you will have to start over….ugh!!!!).

Once it reaches a dark amber color, carefully add the butter and salt.  Be careful because it is going to bubble up.  Whisk until the butter has melted and is fully combined.  Return it to a boil and add the heavy cream (being careful because it is going to bubble up again!).

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Remove from heat, stir until completely incorporated and transfer to a glass jar.  Allow caramel to cool to room temperature. This recipe makes about one cup of caramel.

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You can use it to fill your macarons at this point.  Store any unused caramel covered in the refrigerator for up to a month (trust me, it is NOT going to last that long!).  This stuff is so good on ice cream, brownies, cupcakes and as a cake filling.  The possibilities are endless!!

If you make these incredible macarons,  tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi .  I’d love to see your pictures and hear what you think!!  Enjoy and Happy Macaron Monday!! Give someone a compliment today or share a random act of kindness (maybe one of these macarons…wink wink).

God Bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

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There are so many different cupcake recipes out there (remember my avocado cupcakes?), but sometimes the perfect vanilla cupcake adorned with a delicious buttercream is the ideal choice.

Wikipedia describes a cupcake as a small cake designed to serve one person. I also discovered that November 9th is National vanilla cupcake day. Mark your calendar friends, this sounds like a pretty important occasion to me!

I can’t even begin to count how many vanilla cupcakes I have baked in my lifetime.  My children and grandchildren love cupcakes.  My children refer to themselves as cupcake “snobs”.  I remember buying cupcakes in a local supermarket bakery and when I served them for dessert, they asked me what I was trying to pull serving them store bought baked goods.  Ooops….sorry!!

Two of my grandsons prefer a vanilla cupcake over any other flavor.  I made a strawberry shortcake cupcake last summer.  I think it was one of the best cupcakes ever! It had so many components,  but they were NOT a fan.  My adorable granddaughter, on the other hand, was all about it (you go Evie Girl!).

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This is how you eat a cupcake!

So this cupcake recipe goes out to all the vanilla cupcake lovers out there (or cupcake lovers…period).  These cupcakes are my go to vanilla recipe and will be yours too!

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 and 1/2 cup (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 grams) full fat sour cream

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

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Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.

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In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer with whisk attachment), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about two minutes).

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Mix in the eggs one at a time.  Mixing well after each addition.  Add sour cream and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated.

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Batter may look slightly curdled. That is normal and will come together nicely once flour mixture is incorporated.

Add the flour mixture and mix just until flour is incorporated.  If you would like, you can use a hand whisk at this point.  Mix until there are no traces of flour (do not over mix or your cupcake will not have a light texture).

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Scoop into paper cups filling them 2/3 full.  You can use a large ice cream scoop or two spoons, whichever you prefer.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 17-20 minutes.  All ovens are different, so begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes.  If the toothpick has a few crumbs attached, remove from oven.  The cupcakes will continue baking after they are removed from the oven.  You don’t want to over bake them or you will end up with a dry cupcake!

After 2 minutes, transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.  Top with my simple buttercream frosting.  Don’t let the name fool you.  It may be simple to make, but it’s oh so good!!

Simple (but delicious) Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups (455 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) heavy cream

Instructions:

Cream butter until fluffy.  Slowly incorporate confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Make sure your mixer is on a low speed (trust me on this…you will have a sugar mess!  I learned this the hard way!!). Add the salt and vanilla extract.  Drizzle in the heavy cream to desired consistency.  Add more or less until you achieve this.  Of course, at this point, you can make your icing any color you would like using liquid or gel food coloring. The possibilities are endless!

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You can ice your cupcakes using a small spatula or place the frosting in a decorating bag with a piping tip.  I used a bag for these cupcakes.  I like to use a large star shaped tip to pipe the frosting in a swirling motion.  Top with sprinkles.  Don’t forget the sprinkles!!  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

Throwing it Back with Seth Jason

Almost 11 years ago, something wonderful happened.  I received a phone call from my son saying that in an hour (yes, an hour) a baby boy was going to be coming to their home.

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The day Seth came into our lives (with Melissa, his now Mommy).

Let’s go back a couple of years before that phone call.

My son David, and beautiful daughter-in-love Melissa made the decision to foster children.  It was something they bathed in prayer and God was leading them to do.  At this point they had fostered a little boy who was a temporary placement while his foster parent went on a small vacation.  Then they fostered a little girl until she was placed with a family member.  Next came a little boy who was with them for 8 months before he was reunited with his family.  I’m not going to lie, I got pretty attached to this little boy.  He was just 18 months old when he came to be with David and Melissa. He had the sweetest personality and it was very easy to fall in love with him.  But, God had other plans and he went back to his family.

David and Missy (that’s what I call Melissa) were the only people in our large family to do foster care so it was all very new.  Teaching in the public school system, I had some idea, but this brought it very close to home!  Watching them on this emotional roller coaster was pretty difficult, but they had faith God would see them through all of this, and just wanted His will in their lives (and He has…God is good!).

Now let’s get back to the baby boy who came to them on February 5th, 2009.  He was born February 2nd (our little groundhog), and came to them right from the hospital. David and Missy didn’t have any baby supplies so they were busy making calls to family and friends getting a crib, clothes, diapers etc.  This was a very exciting time!  This was their first experience with an infant, and of course their hands (and hearts) were full.  Seth was not his birth name.  David and Melissa changed it to Seth when they adopted him January 7th, 2011.

Seths adoption cake

This day definitely goes down as one the best days for all of us!  Seth is an amazing boy.  He is funny, kind, and has an awesome imagination! That’s when I officially became Mimi (I can’t help but smile just thinking about it).

So, of course, with my love of baking I couldn’t wait to make his first birthday cake.  He didn’t really have a preference as to what kind of cake he would like, so I made him a “Safari” themed cake topped with animals that I made with a fondant/gum paste mixture.  I was pretty happy with them. It was the first time I had made figurines and I was hooked.

We were excited to celebrate Seth’s big day, but God had other plans.  We had the biggest blizzard since the 70’s!  “Snowmageddon”, as we like to call it.

We finally celebrated later that week and we had a blast!

I look forward to making his cake every year, but he gets to choose what he likes now.  He has a birthday coming up in few weeks and I can’t wait to share that cake with you too.  You may even get to see a sneak peek video of the cake topper being made with the help of my son David (Seth’s Daddy).

Here’s a look at his cakes so far.  Seth actually helped with the characters for his 9th birthday.  He loves to make figures with clay and he did an amazing job with fondant!!

I hope you enjoyed walking down memory with me.  I can’t wait to share birthday #11.

Do you have a favorite cake?  Let me know:)

 

Meyer Lemon Curd

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“If life gives you Meyer lemons, make this lemon curd, and you’ll be glad you did!” Mary Penn

I love all things lemon and this lemon curd is no exception!

In the past couple of years I have seen Meyer lemons in  grocery stores. Curious, I purchased some, and boy oh boy, these things are on a whole new scale of deliciousness!! The taste is not quite as tangy as regular lemons.

I did some research to find out about these new little “rays of sunshine” that came into my life.  Apparently, they are a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange (this really sets them apart in taste!).   The skin is much smoother and shinier than a regular lemon.  It’s a darker yellow color inside and out.  Because they are sweeter than a regular lemon, the uses for this lemon are endless.  They can be squeezed over salads, poultry and fish, but because of their sweeter taste, the outcome will be different (in a good way!).

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Don’t get me wrong, I still have a love for regular lemons (I’m referring to Lisbon and Eureka lemons, which are the two most common varieties found in our grocery store’s produce section).  They are delicious with their bright sunny skin and tangy yellow pulp that makes you pucker!

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My daughter when she was five (she’s 30 now).

Meyer lemons were introduced to the United States from China in the early 20th century by a man named Frank Meyer (hence the name “Meyer” lemon). Thanks Wikopedia!

That being said, this curd is a real deal changer!  It tastes sweeter and the color is brighter.This is my go to lemon curd now and if you make this, I know it will be yours too!

This lemon curd has a beautiful texture and is perfect as a filling for your baked goods.  It has a thicker consistency than any curd I’ve made before.  Coming from someone who loves to have a lemon filled doughnut or cake, this is THE ULTIMATE FILLING! (sorry for all caps, but I am very passionate about this curd).

I hope you try this recipe (it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy)!  If you do, tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi . I would love to see your photos!

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Zest one Meyer lemon. The Curd is going to cooked in a double boiler. I make mine in a heat proof bowl placed over a pan with about an inch of water in the bottom.

Whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest in a large bowl.  Cook the mixture over barely simmering water, (make sure the water isn’t touching the bowl). Whisk constantly, until the lemon mixture thickens and reaches 170°F (76°C) on an instant-read thermometer. This takes about ten minutes.  The mixture will be get foamy (that’s the way it’s supposed to be).

Remove bowl from the simmering water pot.  Strain the curd into a bowl. Immediately whisk in the butter until the mixture is smooth and emulsified.

Transfer to 2 small jars.  This curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up a week, but I doubt it’s going to last that long! I like to eat it right out the jar with a spoon…yes, it’s that good!

Brownie Macarons

 

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Happy Macaron Monday!! That’s a thing, right? Well, if it’s isn’t, it should be! All of my chocolate loving friends know what I’m talking about.  Now, let’s talk about these amazingly delicious brownie macarons!!  YUM!!

I’ve made chocolate macarons before, but these macarons are, well, the best!! I baked these on a silicon mat, and I think it really makes a difference in the chewy texture.  I tweaked my original recipe, by switching out the cocoa for some of the confectioners’ sugar, and I increased the amount of granulated sugar from ¼ cup to 1/3 cup.   I was pleasantly surprised and happy with the outcome.

As  I was folding the confectioners’ sugar, almond flour and cocoa mixture into the meringue, it felt a bit thicker than usual, but I continued until it was completely combined and the consistency seemed right.  Folding until the mixture falls from the spatula into a figure eight works for me every time.  Be careful not to over mix the batter, as this will result in a hollow macaron or possibly even a cracked macaron with no feet!  Let’s face it, nobody wants that (insert winky face here)!

As I mentioned in my last post about macarons, I was struggling with my piping skills. Some were too big, some too small, and some (what I thought) just right.  I purchased silicon mats with premade circles on them.  Yes!! These things were a deal changer!

I let them dry for almost an hour. I was able to gently run my finger across the top without it being wet or tacky.  I only bake one sheet at a time on a rack placed in middle of the oven.  I don’t turn my pans in the baking process.  Bake the macarons for 17 minutes.  I suggest that you place an oven thermometer in your oven to make sure the temperature isn’t off.  If you don’t have one, they can be purchased for under $10.00.  Trust me, it will be money well spent.  A whole batch of macarons can be ruined if your oven temp is off!

Remove the macarons after they have baked for 17 minutes.  You can add a couple of minutes to the time if they don’t look like they are done.  You don’t want to underbake your macarons.  The texture will be off and they will stick to the baking surface!

As these macarons cool, the tops get a slight “crust” making them look like a brownie.  This isn’t the norm for macarons, but don’t panic (I did the first time I made these), this is the way they are supposed to look.  They almost look underbaked, but they are not. Let them cool completely on the baking sheets. They should pop off the baking surface at this time.

Match your macarons so their top and bottom match.  I don’t know why, but this is one of my favorite parts (go figure).

Now you get to fill them with your favorite filling (jams, curds, buttercreams, ganache). The sky’s the limit!! I filled these with a simple 3 ingredient chocolate ganache. I highly recommend this as the filling for these macarons!! It really adds to the brownie flavor. I dusted these with a little cocoa powder to give even more chocolate flavor.  Let’s face it, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate!

I hope you make these, and I hope my pictures and tutorials are helpful! Let me know if you do and post pictures and tag my Instagram page @goodeatsbymimi .

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites (100 grams)
  • 1/3 cup extra fine granulated sugar (66 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon pure chocolate extract (use pure vanilla if you don’t have chocolate)
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (171 grams)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa (25 grams) plus extra for dusting on top of macaron
  • 1 cup almond flour (98 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt

Instructions:

Wipe down mixing bowl, whisk beater, and baking mats with lemon juice or white vinegar. This removes any  residue that will cause the meringue to not properly mix. Set aside until you are ready to pipe your macarons.

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees  (use thermometer to make sure your oven isn’t running too hot or cool).

Place the confectioners’ sugar, baking cocoa and almond flour in a bowl.  Sift these four times. I use two bowls for this process, sifting back and forth between the two bowls. This is a very important step. It not only incorporates the ingredients, it also gets out any lumps, making for a very smooth macaron.

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Place egg whites and cream of tartar (use a pinch of salt if you don’t have cream of tartar…this helps to stabilize the meringue) in a large mixing bowl.

Using a whisk attachment, start beating the egg whites on medium speed until light and frothy.  Add the extra fine sugar a little at a time, allowing the sugar to slowly incorporate into the egg whites.  Begin mixing on medium/high until peaks begin to form being careful not to overbeat.  You want the meringue to be stiff enough to withstand turning the bowl upside down without falling out (check out my picture).

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Fold in the confectioners’ sugar mixture in thirds.  Gently folding after each addition, making sure not to over mix.  Mix just until the batter falls off the spatula and you can smoothly form a figure 8.

Place batter in a large piping bag with a medium circle tip (I use a Wilton tip #12).  Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles (3/4 inches apart).

Drop baking sheet on the counter (4-5 times).  This knocks the air bubbles out of the macarons.  Use a toothpick to pop any remaining bubbles.

Dry the macarons for at least 30 minutes (this depends on the humidity in your area). This gives it a thin shell. You should be able to gently run your finger across the top without it leaving a mark.

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Bake for 17 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Match tops and bottoms.  Fill with delicious chocolate ganache (see recipe below).  Pipe a small dollop in the middle of the bottom macaron and top with matching macaron. Dust tops with cocoa powder.  This is optional, but it really enhances the flavor!  Refrigerate overnight (of course I never wait that long to taste one).  Enjoy!!

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Ganache Recipe:

8 oz. (227 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream

1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Instructions:

Heat heavy cream on stove until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate and let it sit for about three minutes.

Whisk together until ganache comes together and becomes smooth.  Cool to piping consistency.

 

 

 

 

Flaky Blueberry Scones

 

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If a flaky biscuit and a muffin had a baby, I think it would taste like this blueberry scone. Adding a few quick folds in this dough adds a bit more rise and a little more puff to the finished product.  This makes for a party in your mouth!  You may even break out in the “happy food dance”.   It’s a real dance, just ask any foodie out there!

That being said, these scones are a little more involved than most scone recipes I’ve made, but the end result is way better… Trust me!

I am going to walk you through the process from start to finish with step by step photos.   Did I mention I received a new camera for Christmas from my husband?  Thanks Babe…you just made my life a whole lot easier!!

Now let’s get started!

First you are going to want to put ½ cup (one stick) of unsalted butter in the freezer. You are going to be grating this so it will be easier to mix into the flour mixture.  Gently folding the grated butter into the flour and folding a couple of times is going to give these scones a nice rise and flaky texture.

It is very important not to overwork the dough. If you do your scones will be tough instead of tender.  You will only want to knead and fold the dough the number of times called for in this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (frozen) 113 grams
  • 1 ½ cups frozen or fresh blueberries (255 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted) this will be brushed on top of the scones before baking.
  • ½ cup whole milk (122 grams)
  • ½ cup sour cream (57 grams)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 grams)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon Turbinato sugar- to sprinkle on top before baking (13 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (8 grams)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (3 grams)
  • Zest from one lemon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use silicone pad. Rinse blueberries and pat dry.  Place in the freezer until ready to use.

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Grate one stick of butter. Place butter in the freezer until ready to use.

Whisk the sour cream and milk together and place in the refrigerator until needed.

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Place flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest in bowl and whisk until combined. Add the frozen butter to this mixture and gently toss with the flour mixture just until the butter is coated. Add the milk mixture and fold with a spatula until combined.  Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead the dough 6-8 times with floured hands.  The dough should come together in a ragged ball.  Add flour to the surface and to your hands as needed to prevent the dough from sticking.

Now roll the dough into a 12” square. Fold the dough into thirds (like a business letter).  I used my large bench scraper to help me with this process.  Fold into thirds again, starting with the short ends and bringing them towards the middle forming a 4” square.  Chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.  (I put mine on a floured plate).

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll into a 12” square again. Place blueberries on top of the dough and gently press into the dough.

Roll the dough into a log. With seam side down, gently roll and press into a 12” X 4” rectangle.

Using a sharp (and floured) knife, cut dough into four equal squares. Cut each square on a diagonal (making 8 triangles).  Place them on a prepared baking sheet, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the Turbinato sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes or until tops and bottoms are golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack.  Wait approximately 15 minutes and serve!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herb No Knead Dutch Oven Bread

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Happy New Year!!

As we begin a new year, I am looking forward to stepping outside the box with some recipes I’ve never tried before.  I also want to talk about some of my favorite recipes to make (and why they’re my favorites).

Some of my recipes will be sweet, and some will be savory.  I want to dig a little deeper into the science of baking.  What makes a recipe successful and what can cause them to fail.

That brings us to this bread recipe that you bake in a Dutch oven.  Whaaat?!!! Yes, you heard me right.  But, what I found even more fascinating, is the fact that you don’t have to knead this bread.  All you have to do is mix everything together in a large mixing bowl until it is combined, cover it with plastic, and let it sit for 12 hours (or up to 18 hours) at room temperature.  This recipe is time consuming, so you will want to plan accordingly, but it is the easiest bread to make!!

You will place the dough into a very hot Dutch oven, and bake for 30 minutes with the lid on.  As the dough heats it gives off steam creating a humid environment inside the Dutch oven.  The condensation on the surface of the loaf keeps the crust soft.  This allows the the loaf to expand until the crust dries (a dry crust is harder to expand). Steam also causes the starches to form a thin covering that will eventually dry out, giving the loaf a shiny crust that will stay crisp! Yum!!  Once the crust dries out and gets very hot, the sugar molecules caramelize.  This reacts with proteins to form the amazing golden brown color and wonderful flavor that make a delicious crusty bread.  Because of it’s thick sides, heavy lid, and small internal volume, the Dutch oven is the perfect environment to trap and create steam.

After the bread bakes for 30 minutes with the lid on and you take it off…oh dear!!  The look and the smell are out of this world!!  As you close the oven door and wait for this delicious loaf of yumminess to finish baking, the anticipation is off the charts!!

Then it happens; the timer goes off…it’s done!!!!!  I removed this golden bit of goodness from the oven…Oh, the aroma wafting through the house.

I was so happy my sister,  Kathy,  and BIL stopped by not long after the bread came out of the oven.  I was so happy to share this loaf of bread with them.  Mind you, my sister is an amazing cook and baker, so I was very happy that she approved!  We are going to their house tomorrow and will be bringing a fresh loaf to share with our nephew Gil (who apparently wasn’t very happy he missed out on our little bread snack…sorry Gil).

So, as I am sitting here writing this blog, I am anticipating the bread I will be sharing with family tomorrow!

I hope you try this recipe, and if you do, please post a picture and tag me on Instagram @goodeatsbymimi !

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped thyme
  • 1 ¼ cups room temperature water
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions:

In a large bowl,  whisk the flour, kosher salt, rosemary, thyme and yeast together. Mix in the water and olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to combine; making sure to fold the flour up from the bottom of the bowl, forming a shaggy ball.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap for at least 12 hours (or up to 18).

Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Place your Dutch Oven in the oven to heat up. While the Dutch oven is heating, uncover the dough and press down with your fingers. Put dough onto a lightly flowered surface. You do not have to knead the dough. You can turn the dough over itself a couple of times and shape into a round ball (or desired shape).   Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper brushed with olive oil. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and cover with a towel and let the dough rest for 45 minutes.

Take the towel off the dough and with a sharp knife gently score the top of the dough. Turn the oven down to 425 degrees.  Don’t forget this step…your bread will burn if you don’t!!

Remove pot from the oven and remove the lid (be careful…the Dutch oven will be VERY hot!!). Gently lift the parchment paper and place in the Dutch oven. Place the lid back on and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the lid from the Dutch oven and bake for twenty minutes. The crust should be a nice golden brown color (see picture).  If you’re not sure, an internal temperature of 190 degrees will tell you your bread is done.  Also, it will sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack (if you can wait that long). Enjoy!!

Marinated Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

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You may be wondering if there is a difference between chickpeas and garbanzo beans (I know I was).  And a little research showed me that they are indeed one in the same. The reason why they’re sometimes referred to by different names is “chickpeas” refers to the English name,  and “garbanzo” is the Spanish name for them. But, they are indeed the same food. They are high in nutritional value too!  They contain a high amount of proteins, dietary fiber, folate,  iron, and phosphorus.

Chickpeas are important in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines as well.  They are the main ingredient in hummus, and in addition, ground chickpea flour can be used to make falafel (that’s a whole other blog my friends).  Chickpeas can also be used for salads and soups.

These marinated chickpeas are so good (the longer they marinate, the better they taste…yum!).  I love to add these to grain bowls, but they are delicious all by themselves too!!  I hope you try this simple and tasty recipe. You will not be disappointed!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (one large pinch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Drain and rinse one can of garbanzo beans and place in medium size bowl.

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Chop garlic clove, cilantro and parsley and add to beans.  Whisk lemon juice, honey, olive oil and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl until combined.  Add to garbanzo beans, garlic and herb mixture.  Stir until combined and add salt and pepper to taste.  You can eat immediately, but it will taste better the longer it marinates.  This will keep well,  covered,  and in the refrigerator for several days.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

Easy Green Tahini Sauce

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I don’t know about you, but my body has been craving something besides cookies, and desserts. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed all the Christmas goodies, but this girl needs to get back on track. I’m all about balance when it comes to diet and exercise, but let’s face it, that’s harder to do when you throw all the extra things that come along with the holiday season!!

This delicious green tahini sauce is a wonderful addition to most grain bowls (and tacos too!). It’s so easy to make. Just put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend…that’s it!! C’mon, it doesn’t get any easier than that!

This recipe makes enough for four grain bowls. Enjoy!!

 Ingredients:

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (45 grams)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (20 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1 cup tahini (230 grams)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (61 grams)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • *Water

 

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times until combined. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Continue to blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy.  *Drizzle in 1/4 – 1/2 cup water into the food processor until your sauce reaches your desired consistency.

Soooo easy!!