Every cook should have a homemade custard recipe in his or her repertoire. It is the base for so many desserts and yet, is fairly simple to master. The key is to temper the eggs with the milk so you don’t end up with bits of scrambled eggs.
Archives For butter
It seems that I inherited my sweet tooth from my Dad. Like me, he favors quick breads, cookies, and candies, and, like me, he also loves chocolate. When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars, I knew it was the perfect treat to make for him. I got my opportunity last weekend when we had a family gathering. I made sure there would be some extra pieces for my Dad to take home. What I didn’t expect was that he would have some competition for the leftovers…from my nephew, who proclaimed that all the leftover bars were his. I had to be the peacemaker and divide up the remaining pieces equally. It appears that a sweet tooth runs in my family. Note to self: Make a double batch for Christmas morning so Dad and little nephew could have as much as they want.
Today I’m doing my best Paula Deen imitation with this recipe for Pumpkin Swirl Coffee Cake which requires almost 12 ounces of butter. I certainly don’t recommend baking with and eating this much butter all the time, but it is a nice indulgence once in a while. The result is quite possibly the most buttery and moist cake I’ve ever made. It is also light and tender with just the right amount of sweetness and spice. The crumbly pecan and brown sugar streusel made for a great topping, as well as a base, for the cake. My kitchen was filled with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, reminiscent of Thanksgiving, which, by the way, is a mere 56 days away!
I just love baking (and eating) biscuits, and this recipe elevates them with the addition of parmesan cheese and basil. The cheese gives the biscuits its savoriness and slightly crumbly texture, while the purple and sweet basil, which came from my garden, adds a subtle peppery, yet sweet flavor. These rich biscuits make a wonderful accompaniment to pastas, soups, and salads. They’re also great for making Italian breakfast sandwiches filled with slices of prosciutto and eggs. Above all, they are absolutely delicious to eat plain, with only a generous dab of butter. Continue Reading…
Pâte à choux, or cream puff pastry, is versatile dough that is used as a base for many sweet and savory treats. Strictly speaking, it is more like a thick paste that is made by adding flour to boiling water and butter to form a sort of roux to which eggs are then added. The resulting dough, called panade, should be light, with a smooth and shiny appearance and sticky consistency. Continue Reading…
For someone with a such a sweet tooth, I am actually a little surprised that I don’t make candies and chocolates more often. Well, since Chris and I had such a great time making these caramels, that’s about to change. It was surprisingly simple to make, with one caveat: extra care is needed when cooking a sugar/cream mixture. It is lava-like and will stick to any exposed flesh if splattered, causing a nasty burn. That’s why I always have a big bowl of ice water nearby for emergencies.
Time really does fly when you’re having fun…and what fun I’ve had this past week! From celebrating my wedding anniversary to transforming my backyard into an urban vegetable garden to making some yummy desserts, this staycation has definitely been a blast!!
One luxury of my time off has been to indulge in longer baking sessions than I would normally have time for during a regular work week. As such, I was able to develop this tart recipe. This was a perfectly sweeet ending to my weeklong staycation.
Homemade bread is good. Homemade bread with homemade butter is even better! Yes, you read it right. I made my own butter this morning! As it turns out, butter is surprisingly easy and fun to make. Essentially, heavy cream is just whipped until it breaks and the fat separates from the liquid. The fat is the butter and the liquid is buttermilk. How easy is that? I used a stand mixer, but a food processor works as well. Shaking the fermented cream in a mason jar for about 20-30 minutes will supposedly work but I prefer to have my kitchen gadgets do the heavy work.
I followed this cultured butter recipe from the Seattle Times, which calls for culturing, or fermenting the cream, before churning. I had no luck in finding a good quality, organic cream, so I settled for a pint of the Trader Joe’s brand. The resulting butter is a pale yellow color and creamy with a little bit of tang to it. Better quality cream would have resulted in a deeper yellow color and a richer flavor. Next time, I can experiment with adding different herbs and flavorings to make compound butter.
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