Sunday, October 28, 2012

Doughnut Muffins

I drove by a doughnut shop the other day and since haven't been restraining myself from going in and "treating" myself. Okay, being gluttonous. This is my compromise. Make these, bring them into work to share, thus limiting myself. Yes, this is self control people!

3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1 cup milk
Cinnamon and sugar for dusting
Melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add the eggs, beating after each one. Alternatively add the milk and flour mixture to the egg mixture.

Fill muffin tins about three quarters full. Bake for about 20 minutes until lightly golden.

Remove the muffins from the tins onto a cooling rack. Brush with the melted butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Bread

My friend Hannah has been letting me cook and bake for her. It's actually been a pretty fantastic trade. She's an amazing healer and she's been making it so my neck and back can actually move fairly pain free. So, like a true Italian, I make payments in food. This was the most recent payment.

3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
15 ounces canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, beating after each one. Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and powder, and cinnamon. Alternatively add the flour mixture and pumpkin to the egg mixture in batches. Add the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter in half. Add the melted chocolate to one half of the batter, folding in with a spatula.

Alternatively add some of the chocolate batter and plain batter into the pan. Using a butter knife, swirl the batter in the pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes (check consistently since oven temperatures will vary). Turn out the loaf and cool before serving.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pear and Cranberry Turnovers

Is there anyone who doesn't like phyllo dough? The flaky goodness often paired with fruity gooey, well, goodness. There's something so indulgent about it. The pears have been looking particularly good lately, so I figured that pear turnovers would be just as good as apple ones. I found a recipe on Epicurious and have modified it somewhat based on its reviews.

2 bosc pears, peeled, cored, diced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon cinnamon
16 17 x 12-inch sheets fresh or frozen whole wheat phyllo pastry or regular phyllo pastry (thawed if frozen)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Powdered sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Combine pears, cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, and cinnamon in large bowl; toss to coat.

Stack phyllo sheets on work surface. Cut the sheets in thirds, lengthwise. Take 2 sheets and place some pear mixture on phyllo strip. I did about 2 heaping tablespoons in each one. Fold 1 corner of strip over pear mixture, then fold phyllo back and forth (like a flag), enclosing filling. Brush top with butter after each fold until entire strip is folded, forming triangle.

Once all are folded, brush tops with butter. Then bake turnovers until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beef Brisket

Last night, I had a mini housewarming with my friends Vicki and Carmen (and Carmen's little one Camille!). We started out with Spicy Grilled Shrimp Toastadas and then followed up with beef brisket sandwiches. I'm proud to say that even 19 month old Camille liked the brisket. I think it had something to do with the chili powder; that girl can eat spice! Anyway, when I left DC, my coworkers chipped in and got me my dream...a Le Creuset Cast Iron French Oven like the one here. Sigh, so pretty (and I was able to cross something off my 30 Before 30 list!). This was my first time using it. Thank you Vic and Carmen for being my excuse to use it. I had bought some beef brisket from an organic rancher out in Tucson about a month ago and I'm not exactly sure what possessed me to do that. I have never cooked brisket before and quite frankly, never like it. I've only had one brisket that I liked and that was made by another friend, Genie to celebrate her husband's birthday. So, thank you Genie for your awesome recipe below!

3.5-4 lbs beef brisket
1 1/2 cups beef stock

Dry Rub:

2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons salt
2 garlic gloves, minced -or- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion, minced -or- 1 tablespoon online powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 bay leaves, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Season the brisket on both sides with the rub. Place the brisket in a large cast iron dutch oven, or roasting pan. Bake uncovered for one hour.

Add the beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 - 1 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees. Cover the pan and continue to cook for about three hours (I let mine go to 3.5 hours). Trim the brisket and slice to serve. Top with juice from the pan. Serve as is or place on toasted rolls.