Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Small Batch Baking: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

About six months ago I entered a give away on one of my favorite blogs and won the cookbook Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers. Last week I finally browsed through it and settled on these chocolate chip oatmeal scones as my first Small Batch Baking attempt. I had an obstetrics appointment so made these in the morning and took them in for the doctor. It's always smart to stay on the good side of someone who may deliver your baby, right?! :) Anyway, the original recipe made only two scones but I doubled the recipe so hubby and I could each have one too. They were so delicious! A perfect texture and a great balance between oatmeal and chocolate chip. If I were drinking coffee I would have drank a big ol cup of it with these scones, but I went with a nice cold glass of milk instead. I am sure you could substitute whatever you like in your scones for chocolate chips: cinnamon chips, blueberries, etc.
Small Batch Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones
From Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers by Debby Maugans 
Makes 4 scones
Printable Version
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons oats, uncooked
1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used milk chocolate)
2 tablespoons half and half
2 tablespoons well beaten egg
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside (I used my silpat mat). Cut the butter into 1/2 inch pieces; freeze while preparing the other ingredients. Place the oats in a food processor and process until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt. Pulse until well combined, 3 to 4 pulses. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour mixture; pulse until butter pieces are no larger than peas, about 7 pieces. Add chocolate chips, half and half, and egg. 
Cover and pulse until the dough is well combined and moist clumps form, about 7 pulses. Transfer the dough to a work surface and form into a disk. Divide the dough into quarters with a knife.
Shape into scones, about 1 inch thick and place on the baking sheet with at 2 inches in between each scone. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar. 
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. These scones are best the day they are baked! 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fluffernutter Cookies

Raise your hands if you ate fluffernutter sandwiches as a child. Now raise your hands if you eat them as an adult. I am guessing that like me, not so many grown ups whip themselves up a peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwich. These cute little cookies are the dessert version of fluffernutter sandwiches. Peanut butter thumbprint cookies filled with marshmallow fluff. They are messy and sticky but so much fun. I made them when we had friends over for dinner last week and someone said, "ooh they taste like toasted marshmallows". Toasted marshmallows on top of peanut butter cookies - yep that pretty much describes these babies. Make them today for a flashback to youth.
Fluffernutter Cookies
From Two Peas & Their Pod
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
Printable Version
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 small jar of marshmallow fluff

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray (I used tin foil instead) and set aside. In a medium bowl mix the peanut butter and sugars together until creamy and smooth. You can do this by hand. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and mix until throughly combined. Add the salt and baking soda. Spoon the dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon for each cookie. Place the cookie dough balls on the cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. With your thumb press down the to make a puddle in the middle of each cookie. 
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from oven and press down the cookies with your thumb again -- cookies will be HOT so do this quickly. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes. Move cookies to a wire rack and cool. Then take a spoonful of marshmallow fluff and fill the center of each cookie. Try to smooth it out as best as you can - it will settle and spread out on the cookie over time. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Texas Baked Eggs

During the Holidays when we had family visiting I wanted to make something a little more special for breakfast. These Texas Baked Eggs are super easy but look way more impressive than they are to make. Texas Sized biscuits topped with an egg and sprinkled with shredded cheese, bacon bits, and scallions (I was out of these) are a yummy and filling way to start the day!
Texas Baked Eggs
From The Family Kitchen
Makes 8 servings
Printable Version
1 tube Texas-style refrigerated biscuit dough (the biggest ones)
8 eggs
1/2 cup bacon bits
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 diced scallions
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a standard sized muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray (I realized my muffin tins were too small so I went with individual ramekins instead). Open the tube of biscuit dough and and press one biscuit into eight tins. Make room for the egg by pressing the biscuit all the way up the side of each cup. 
Crack an egg into each biscuit then top with bacon bits, cheddar, and scallions. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. 
Bake for 13-15 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven as soon as the edged turn golden brown. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Mediterranean Pumpkin Soup

My wonderful friend Jess made this soup a couple of weeks ago and had me try a bite of it. I loved the smoky pumpkin flavor and the fact that this recipe is super healthy. I borrowed her cookbook and made it just a few days later. It's a great way to use up one of the several cans of pumpkins I still have sitting in my pantry from hoarding them this fall. I say hoarding because I was told that canned pumpkin would be in limited supply at our commissary. This caused me to not only purchase three or four cans here on the island, but I also also freaked out when there were truly none in stock at the store and asked my Mom to ship some cans to me from the States. My lovely obliging Momma sent me four cans. Note to self: seven large cans of pureed pumpkin is a little excessive. Regardless, this soup is a wonderful and guilt free Meatless Monday Meal!
Mediterranean Pumpkin Soup
From Mediterranean: A Taste of the Sun Cookbook and my friend Jess :)
Serves 4
Printable Version
2 pounds pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed (I used 28 ounces canned pumpkin)
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and sliced (I used 1/2 yellow onion)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons cumin
3 3/4 cups chicken stock (I used homemade turkey stock given to me by  my friend Krimp)
2 tablespoons peanut butter (I added this in, was not in original recipe)
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro leaves to garnish
4 tablespoons plain yogurt, to serve

Cut the pumpkin into chunks. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch Oven to medium and add the leeks (or onion) and garlic. Cook gently until softened. Add the ginger and cumin and cook, stirring for another minute. Add the pumpkin and the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender. Process the soup in batches if necessary or use a hand blender to create desired thickness (not necessary if you used canned pumpkin).  Serve the soup in bowls with a swirl of yogurt and a garnish of cilantro leaves. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Muffins

I haven't had too many pregnancy craving yet but these chocolate chip muffins were probably my first official craving. Totally out of the blue and totally random, but the other day I  began thinking about homemade chocolate chip muffins and couldn't stop thinking about them til I whipped them up. The only other thing I've had a hankering for is root beer. Hmmm, chocolate chip and root beer - now that's a pretty yummy sounding combination!
These muffins are the best right out of the oven but are also great as a snack with a big glass of milk or your morning coffee. I loved the cinnamon sugar topping on these soft cake like muffins.
Chocolate Chip Muffins
From Joyofbaking.com
Makes 12 muffins
Printable Version
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled 
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line with paper liners 12 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups. In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. With a rubber spatular fold the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter into the dry ingredients. Stir only until the ingredients are combined - do not over mix the batter or muffins will be tough.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar topping and sprinkle a little on top of each muffin. 
Place in the oven and bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool about five minutes before removing from pan. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

When my sister in law visited for the Holidays we made these smoothies after a morning workout. Although the idea of oats in a smoothie may be a little off putting, they are ground into a powder so that you don't even notice them. This smoothie is my new favorite - it's uber healthy and very filling. I modified the original recipe by adding in walnuts (a pregnancy super food) and ground flax seeds. 
Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
From This Chick Cooks
Printable Version
Makes 2 small smoothies
2 frozen bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
Sprinkle of walnuts
Sprinkle of ground flax seed
3/4 cup milk

Put oats in a blender and blend until powdery. 
Add remaining ingredients.
Blend until smooth and no banana chunks remain. Garnish with fresh banana slices if desired. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lasagna Soup

Happy New Year! For my first recipe of 2012 I wanted to share this out of the ordinary soup recipe that I found on Pinterest. Lasagna turned into a soup just has to be good, right? It was! I substituted turkey sausage for pork and added in more pasta than the original recipe called for. The results were a yummy, flavorful soup with just a tiny kick of spice from the sausage. It's a perfect, filling dinner for these cold winter nights.
Lasagna Soup
From A Farm Girls Dabbles
Makes 12 servings
Printable Version
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage (I used 1 pound ground turkey sausage)
3 cups chopped onions
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes (I couldn't find these so just used regular)
2 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
8 ounces mafalda, fusilli, or cellentani pasta (I used about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves 
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I didn't end up using very much of this)

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the sausage, breaking up into pieces and brown for about five minutes. Add the onions and cook until softened, about six minutes. 
Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the tomato paste turns a rusty brown color.  Add in diced tomatoes and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente (about 7 minutes).
Do no overcook soup or let simmer for a long period at this point or the pasta will get mushy. Stir in basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
While the pasta is cooking prepare the cheese by combining ricotta and Parmesan with salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place soup in individual serving bowls and stir in a dollop of the ricotta/Parmesan mixture. If desired sprinkle some mozzarella on top. 


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