Bob’s Roasted Chestnut Recipe.

My father, Bob, is a chestnut aficionado.  He loves this time of year when they’re sold at the farmer’s market so he can partake.  This week I found some and finally, with the completion of our kitchen, he was able to roast these up.  I don’t care for chestnuts but for those of you who do… enjoy this super easy and flavorful recipe.

Ingredients:

1 lb of chestnuts, with a cut in the top (about 1 inch long)
Pinch of salt
Water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Set aside a baking sheet.  In a saucepan, add your chestnuts, salt and just enough water to cover.  Bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat.  Drain and place the chestnuts on your baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Peel and enjoy!

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Lemon Almond Biscotti.

My favorite cookie is the biscotti – hands down!  They are so versatile and I love trying out old recipes and new.  In the coming weeks I will be sharing my favorite recipes with you.  I hope you give some of these a try, especially with the cookie baking holidays upon us.

*Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis.

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
3/4 cup of yellow cornmeal
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
Zest from one lemon
1 cup of whole almonds, chopped

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment or Silpat liners.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  In your stand mixer, blend sugar and eggs.  Add in the lemon zest.  Then add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture.  Blend until combined.  Add in the almonds and mix.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into two “loaves” on your baking sheet.  They should be about 9×3 and 3/4 of an inch thick.  Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.  Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.  Slice on a diagonal with a serrated knife about 1/2 inch thick or slightly thicker.  Place on the cookie sheet and bake for an additional 25 minutes.

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Eggnog Pull Apart Cinnamon Rolls.

I’ve been thinking (and panicking) a lot about Christmas.  I swear it was just October and next week is Thanksgiving already?!  I’ve been concocting some recipes in my head and gave this one a whirl last night – thinking it would make Monday morning that much more special.  It did!  I love this recipe and will continue to massage it to perfection.  I did want to share it because it is pretty good as it stands.  My kids loved it along with my husband.  I was good, I only took one bite before the gym this morning.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of almond or white milk
1/4 cup of eggnog
3.5 cups of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s) – divided – you may need additional flour if the dough is too sticky
1/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoon of yeast (rapid rise) or two packets
1 teaspoon salt
Non stick baking spray with flour

Filling:

1/2 cup of brown sugar (light brown)
3 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1/2 stick of Smart Balance light baking butter (you can use regular butter) at room temperature

Glaze:

1 1/3 cup of confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons of eggnog

Directions:

Melt the butter or butter spread in the microwave and set aside. Warm the milk to about 120 degrees and add the yeast.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  In the meantime, add the butter, 1 cup of flour, sugar, egg and salt into your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment.  Add the milk/yeast mixture to the stand mixer as well.  Blend on low for about 4 minutes.  Add the remaining flour and beat on low until incorporated.  The dough will be sticky when blended.  If too sticky, add a tablespoon of extra flour as needed.  Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead for an additional 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a clean bowl and place the dough inside.  Cover with a towel and store in a draft-free location for 1.5 hours.  The dough should rise to double it’s size.

Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Spray your round 9 inch pan and set aside.

Punch the dough down and roll it out into a large rectangle (the dough should be about 1/4 inch thick.  Place the butter in your hand and rub it all over the dough – right to the edges.  This will help the spices to stick to the dough.  It needn’t be a thick but a thin layer.  Then add the brown sugar and sugar in a bowl.  The spread all over the dough – right to the edges.  Roll the dough tightly starting from you moving outward.  Once you have one long roll you will slit the top of of the roll with a sharp filet knife.  You will pierce the dough and go approximately half way down through the roll.  Then gently add the roll of dough into your round prepared pan.  I started at the center of the pan and rolled it moving outward like a bullseye.  Adjust the positioning as necessary.

Bake for 35 minutes or until lightly golden.

While the rolls are baking, whip up the glaze so it’s ready to go when the rolls coming out of the oven.  In a bowl add the confectioner’s sugar with the eggnog.  Whisk until creamy.  Pour over the rolls the minute they come out of the oven.  You can serve at this point or place back in the oven to crisp up the glaze for an additional ten minutes.

 

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Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.

 

Today, Leslie and I whipped up a preview of a delectable Christmas cookie.  Once I popped one in my mouth, I remembered why I make these every Christmas.  If you love mint… these are the babies for you!

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s)
1/2 c cocoa powder (I used Wilbur’s)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter (or butter spread like Smart Balance) at room temperature
1 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of mint extract
1/3 cup of confectioner’s sugar (for rolling in the cookie dough balls in)
1 bag of Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Directions:

Preheat the oven 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.  Pour the confectioner’s sugar in a bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Whisk.  Set aside.

In your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Then add one egg at a time, blending well in between the additions.  Then add the vanilla and mint.

Add the flour blend to the stand mixer in thirds.  Blending well after each addition.  With a cookie scooper, scoop out a ball and roll it in the confectioner’s sugar to coat and then place on your baking sheet.  Repeat.   Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remove promptly and depress a Kiss in the middle of each cookie.  Let cool for 10 minutes then serve or store in a tupperware container.

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Chocolate chunk blondies.

While my kitchen is under mass destruction, ummm I mean construction, my sweet best friend Leslie has opened up her kitchen to me so that I can keep cooking and blogging this week.  She is the BEST!  Coincidentally, we both got Ina Garten’s new cookbook Foolproof so we decided to work our way through it this week making delectable recipes.  Ina’s right…they are foolproof and fabulous!

Today we wanted to make a fun after-school snack for our girls.  These were perfect.  Easy to make, unbelievably decadent!  We both highly recommend them!

 

*adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe.  

Ingredients:

1/2 lb of butter or buttery spread like Smart Balance
1 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups of all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 bags of Nestle chocolate chunks
Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray (baking spray with flour) a 9×13 in glass pan. Set aside.

In your stand mixer, blend the butter and sugars until fluffy – about 4 minutes on high.  Turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla and one egg at a time.  Scrape the bowl down as needed.  In a separate bowl, blend the flour, soda and salt.  Sift once.  Then gradually add the flour mixture to the stand mixer.  Blend well but avoid over-mixing.  Fold in chocolate chunks.

The batter will be very thick!  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or so.  Avoid over-baking as this will make them hard and dry.  Remove and let cool for about 20 minutes then slice and serve with milk.

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Lemon Chobani Pound Cake.

This is a recipe from Ina Garten that I tweaked to make a bit healthier… well as healthy as you can get for pound cake.  Ha!  I made this with my best friend Leslie this afternoon, who has graciously opened her kitchen to me to cook in this week while the final phase of renovations happens in my own kitchen.  We should’ve talked and laughed less and paid more attention to the recipe but it came out great and tastes like lemony heaven.


Ingredients:

Baking spray
1/4 cup of turbinado sugar
3 cups of sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter (or Smart Balance)
1/4 cup of Chobani lemon or vanilla Greek yogurt
2 cups of sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Zest from one lemon
1 cup of heavy cream

Directions:

DO NOT preheat the oven.  Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven.  Spray your bundt cake pan or loaf pans and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Sprinkle it as a nice layer on your pan.

Combine sifted flour and salt.  Sift this mixture 3 times.

In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar.  This should be mixed for about 4-5 minutes.  Then add one egg at a time, mixing before the next addition.  Add Chobani, vanilla extract and zest.  Blend this well.  Then alternate adding the flour to the butter mixture with the cream.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan.  Slice and top with whipped cream, fruit or ganache.

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Healthier Double Chocolate Chobani Brownies.

I’m unsure of the original origin of this recipe.  I received it from a friend about 4 years ago. I’ve morphed it into my own over time but I’m not the recipe creator on this one.

I’m not a huge brownie fan but my kids love them.   These are a bit healthier than traditional brownies, which I’m all over.  I use Wilbur Chocolate cocoa (it’s a local chocolate company that we love).  Always use the best ingredients that you can to make the recipe the best it can be.  You also can control the toppings or not use any to make them even healthier.  My daughters always sneak something on top of them tho.  Okay so without further adieu….

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of sugar
1/3 cup light butter (or butter spread – I used Smart Balance butter)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup of al-purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s)
1/3 cup of cocoa powder (I used Wilbur Chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup of vanilla Chobani Greek yogurt
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips into the batter
Optional toppings:  M&M’s, white chocolate chips, dark or milk chocolate chips, nuts, pretzel pieces, sprinkles

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray your 9×9 baking pan with baking spray.  Set aside.  

In your stand mixer beat  your sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Then add the egg and extract.

Then in a dry mixing bowl whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and baking powder.  Add to the butter mixture.  Blend to combine.  Then add the Chobani.  Mix until incorporated.  Add chocolate chips if using them and stir by hand.  Pour into your prepared pan.  At this point, if you wish to add additional toppings, do that here.  Then bake for 16-18 minute or until it starts to pull away from edges of the pan and firms up.  Undercooking yields a very moist brownie.  Let cool and then slice and serve.

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Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic Soup.

I love soup!  It’s a cool, dark, dismal kind-of-day today.  Okay so I made cauliflower soup.  I know some of you are thinking how much you hate cauliflower.  It is, I agree, the most boring of veggies but once you roast it, paired up with garlic, it transforms this bland and boring vegetable into something heavenly.  Trust me… you need to try this recipe!  I swear, you will never look back!

 

Ingredients:

1 large head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
1 head of garlic, yes the entire head.  Peeled and roughly chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks of celery, washed and sliced
3 carrots, washed, peeled and sliced
1/2 of a medium size onion, diced
4 cups of chicken stock (vegetable stock for a vegetarian option)
3 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons of Smart balance butter or regular butter (whichever you have on hand)
2 cups of low or non-fat milk
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of all-purpose flour

Optional topping:  Prosciutto  pan-fried in a bit of oil until crispy.  Crumble and sprinkle onto of each bowl.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place the cauliflower and garlic on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Give a good toss.  Then roast for 45 minutes or until you start to see some brown edges on the cauliflower.  Toss midway through to evenly roast.

In a dutch oven over medium heat, add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add your mirepoix (celery, onion and carrots).  Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the onions become translucent.  When the cauliflower and garlic are done, add that to the dutch oven.  Stir.  Then add the stock and parsley.  Bring to a boil.  Cover and then reduce the heat.  Let this simmer for about a half hour.

In a separate small sauce pan, you are going to make a white sauce that will be used to thicken the soup.  Add the butter and once melted, stir in the milk and flour.  Whisk until the mixture boils.  Turn the heat off and whisk for another few minutes.  The sauce will be thickened.  Then pour it into your soup pot.  Give a good stir.  Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.  Let it simmer over a very low flame for 1+ hours.  I let it simmer all afternoon to develop the flavors.  If you like it chunky, leave it as it.  If not, you can use a hand immersion blender to puree the soup (which is what I did).

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