Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry Banana Bread

This turned out quite well. Here is a link to the recipe I used:

1/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
Cranberry banana batter
2 eggs
2 bananas, sliced
1 c. cranberries (I used fresh)
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a bread pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a food processor. Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition. Add in the cranberries, banana slices, the water, and the vanilla extract. Mix again until blended, but not too much.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients into the batter, mixing until just combined - do not overmix. Since I only have an 8 c. food processor, before adding the dry ingredients, I poured the cranberry banana mixture into a large bowl and then stirred in the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 55 minutes or until the top of the cake is nicely brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes, then run a knife around to loosen the sides. Turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Here is a link to the recipe I used:

Cranberry Filling:
Boiling the cranberries and sugar
2 1/4 c. fresh cranberries
2/3 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. water

2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. cornflour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a 9x9 baking dish.

Shortbread base with filling
To make the filling: In a saucepan, place all the filling ingredients. Over medium-high heat, cook the ingredients until boiling. Continue to boil the filling until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the shortbread.

To make the shortbread: In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cornflour, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

Evenly press 2/3 of the shortbread into the bottom of the prepared dish. The evenly spread the cranberry filling over the shortbread base, leaving a 1/4 inch border. With the remaining shortbread dough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling. Then lightly press the dough into the filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. While still hot, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Carmelized Onions

Here's a link to the recipe I used:

I am halving the recipe here because that is how I made it.

Onions caramelizing
2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (or more!)
3 slices smoked bacon, chopped
1-2 onions, thinly sliced
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. thyme

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Toss the sweet potato chunks, olive oil, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl, and spread the sweet potatoes out onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven until browned and tender, about 30-40 minutes; stir after the first 20 minutes. 

Ready to eat!
Cook the bacon until crisp and brown in a large skillet over medium heat, about 10 minutes; transfer bacon to a bowl, but leave the grease in the skillet. Cook the onions in the bacon grease until browned, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low, and cook the onions until very soft, brown, and sweet, another 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often. Mix the onions with the bacon in the bowl, and set aside. 

Pour the maple syrup into the hot skillet with the thyme, and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the syrup until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Place the roasted sweet potatoes and onion-bacon mixture into the skillet, and stir to coat the vegetables with maple glaze. Transfer to a serving dish.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

*Plan ahead... needs to chill

Halloween oreo crumbs!
1 1/4 c. cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 c. white chocolate, melted and cooled (the original recipe calls for vanilla chips, but real white chocolate adds way more of a rich flavor)
1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. each ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg
White chocolate curls, optional

Place a greased 9-in. springform pan (don't use larger than a 9-in. or the proportions will be off!) on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan. Press cookie crumbs onto the bottom of the springform pan; set aside.

Ready for baking!
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in melted white chocolate.

In a small bowl, combine pumpkin and spices; gently fold into cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 325° for 60-65 minutes or until center is almost set and the top of the cake looks dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove sides of pan.

Ready to eat!
The original recipe didn't say when to remove the foil, but you should probably do it after it cools for 10 minutes, and make sure no water has seeped into the pan.

Garnish with white chocolate curls if desired. I made a whipped cream topping before adding the white chocolate (I beat together heavy whipping cream and baker's sugar). Refrigerate leftovers.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cauliflower and Cheese

Basically macaroni and cheese, but with cauliflower instead of pasta.

Cooking spray
1 lb. cauliflower, cut into pieces
Cauliflower with sauce
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. dry mustard
Dash of chipotle tabasco
1/2 c. Cheddar, grated
1/2 c. Parmesan, grated
Salt and white pepper
2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. Cheddar, grated, extra

Spray a 1.5 litre baking dish with cooking spray. Cook the cauliflower in lightly salted boiling water until just tender. Drain. Place in the dish and keep warm.

Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, or until golden and bubbling. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, mustard, and chipotle. Return to heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt and white pepper, and pour over the cauliflower.

Ready to eat!

Mix together the breadcrumbs and extra cheddar cheese, and sprinkle over the sauce. Bake at 350 F. for about 15-20 minutes, or until the top is browned and bubbling. Serve immediately.

Adapted from The 1000 Best Recipes

*Update - I've also made this with cauliflower and broccoli mixed. I also added black pepper and garlic that time. =)

*Another update - last time I added Polish sausage. I cooked it separately, then added it to the cauliflower before pouring the sauce over it. I added black pepper and garlic powder to the sausage while it was cooking. This was an excellent addition. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cheesy Potato Bread

3/4 c. water
1/2 c. potato, peeled and chopped
1/3 c. milk
1/3 c. cheddar, shredded
2 tsp. butter
3 c. bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. onion salt (you can substitute onion powder, but then also use 1/2 tsp. salt)
1/4 tsp. dried chives
1 tsp. active dry yeast
melted butter (optional)

In a small saucepan, combine the water and potato. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 10 minutes or until the potato is very tender. Do not drain. Mash potato in the water. Measure potato mixture. If necessary, add water to equal 3/4 c. mixture. Discard any excess potato mixture. Cool slightly.

Add the potato mixture and remaining ingredients in a bowl. Mix together to form a dough (I had to add a bit more water at this step; just enough so that it will form a dough). Knead on a lightly floured surface about 10 minutes. Grease a large bowl, and place the ball of dough into bowl, making sure to grease the sides of the dough. Cover and let rise 40-60 minutes or until the dough has almost doubled in size. Knead again for several minutes, then roll out and shape into a loaf. Place in greased loaf pan; cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes (I checked mine at 40 minutes and it was done). Before you take it out of the pan, spread melted butter on the top of the bread with a pastry brush. Let bread cool a few minutes before removing it from the pan and placing it on a cooling rack.