Tag Archives: cooking

Honey Chamomile Cupcakes

 

This recipe forever won a way into my heart.  You are going to love me for sharing this with you.  It’s one of my favorite cupcake recipes , and the combination of ingredients is so delicate, unexpected and pleasing.  Don’t be nervous about the tea! It gives such a mild enhancement to the flavor even unadventurous people will like this.  I got this recipe from the Joy the Baker cookbook, the source of many excellent recipes, and I highly advise you try these for any gathering, bridal shower, tea party, breakfast or brunch you have.  In short, try these whenever and wherever and you’ll find them to be a crowd pleaser.  They come together in no time which is such a plus for a dessert.  I made them after my morrocan tagine and curried couscous dinner, and the exotic flavor in the cupcake really worked well with the above.   The cupcakes are infused with delicate chamomile flavor which pairs perfectly with the honey icing on top.  I’d love to experiment with other tea flavors too! They look so pretty, and they taste even better then they look. For maximum effect serve with tea…we had authentic morrocan tea with these…Enjoy!

Honey Chamomile Cupcakes adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the Cupcakes:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of salt

3 tablespoons dried chamomile (tea bags)

1/2 cup milk (low fat works fine)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar, taste and add extra 1/2 cup if desired

1 tablespoon honey

about 5 tablespoons heavy cream

pinch of salt

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with paper or foil liners and set aside.

To make the cakes:  in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt, and chamomile leaves.  Mix on medium speed until the mixture is slightly coarse and sandy.  This takes about 5 minutes.

While the mixture beats, in a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture.  Beat until just incorporated.  Pour in the remaining milk mixture, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 1 minutes, until well blended.

Divide the batter between the prepared cups.  There isn’t a lot of batter so you’ll only fill the cups up half way.  You’ll also need to scrape the bowl for remaining batter.  This recipe doesn’t waste a drop.

Bake the cupcakes for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove the cupcakes from the pan to cool completely before frosting.

To make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, honey, cream, and salt.  Whisk until smooth.  Use a butter knife to generously spread the frosting atop the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with just a bit of chamomile tea leaves and arrange on a pretty plate.  Cakes will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days.

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Filed under Cakes, Cupcakes, Desserts

Mussel Bisque

I have an amazing recipe for you to try if you are a seafood lover like me. This creamy, hearty mussel soup is reminiscent of clam chowder with the addition of saffron and tomatoes. The many vegetables give it a stunning vivid look that would complete any table. As the weather falls somewhere between summer and fall, this is the perfect soup to make. The chunky vegetables and cream will warm you up while the mussels make it light enough to enjoy on even hotter days. Enjoy!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2  kilo fresh mussels, cleaned
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole canned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley or dill

Directions

To clean mussel: Put mussels in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1/4 cup flour and cover with water. Let stand for half an hour, then drain, rinse mussels off.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the mussels and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the mussels open. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, separate the mussels from the shells and set aside, discarding the shells and any mussels that didn’t open. Strain the cooking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl and reserve.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onions, leek, carrots, garlic, saffron, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute.

Add 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid (discard the rest) and the vegetable stock , bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the reserved mussels, and the cream. Heat until just heated through but not boiling. Stir in the parsley or dill, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Serve hot

-M

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Guacamole Salad

 

If you saw the earlier post, you know I made this salad to go along with the Chili Pie.  A great pairing, and this salad would work equally well with many dishes.  It would even be a great light main dish, you could grill some chicken and add it in if you’re the type who needs some form of meat in your salad to call it lunch.  This recipe is really easy, really light and tasty.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Ina Garten

Guacamole Salad:

Ingredients

  • 1 small container cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup small diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced

Directions

Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.

Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Healthy, Salads

Chili Pie

Otherwise known as tamale pie, I like the name chili pie more because it really reflects what this hearty dinner is about.  It’s about chili, baked with a cornbread crust on top.  It’s chili pie! And its genius.  The chili part was wonderfully spiced, thick and fulfilling the perfect soon to be winter comfort food.  The cornbread gives a nice slightly sweet touch to overall dish, and the nice addition of a starch conveniently baked into the dish.   A possible addition I’d make is to add some shredded cheddar cheese to the cornbread dough itself, since the cheese that melted in with the meat mixture was kind of lost.  I’d definitely recommend this as a dinner or lunch entree, and it makes a lot!

Chili Pie adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the Filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1½ pounds ground beef
1½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 can (14.5-ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
3 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (adjust to heat preferences)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional, gives a smoky flavor)
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup sliced black olives
120 grams cheddar cheese shredded ounces

For the Cornbread Topping:
1½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional, just thought it would be a nice add in)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).

2. Making the Filling: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until hot. Add the onion, green pepper and jalapeños, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the ground beef to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Once the meat is browned, add the onion mixture back to the pan. Stir in the corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt. Stir well to ensure that the spices and the tomato paste are evenly distributed. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand while preparing the cornbread topping.

4. Make the Cornbread Topping: Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients over the cornmeal mixture and stir together until barely incorporated.

5. Assemble & Bake the Pie: Stir the olives and shredded cheese into the beef mixture and pour it into a 9×13-inch baking dish, smoothing the top. Pour the cornbread batter over the filling, using a spatula to spread it into an even layer. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. (My oven runs hot, so it was done at 25 minutes) Allow the pie to rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some black olives scattered on top if desired.

You might notice in the pictures this amazing guacamole salad I served it with.  It was the perfect match, and I loved the recipe.  I’ll be repeating it a lot! Stay tuned and the recipe will be posted.

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Filed under Main Meals, Meat

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

I needed to make something for a friends house, it needed to be awesome, and I needed to have the ingredients beause I was too lazy to go to the supermarket.  Voila! I was led to this recipe which is definitely going to be repeated many times.  What’s great about them is that they are really easy, don’t take much time at all, but look like they are hard to make and take forever! Now, you need to make these because:

1. They are chocolate cookies stuffed with a creamy peanut butter mixture.

2. You probably already have the ingredients, and they are super easy.

3. THEY ARE CHOCOLATE COOKIES STUFFED WITH PEANUT BUTTER!

Now, let’s get started!

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

For the Cookies:

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar (plus more for rolling)

½ cup light brown sugar (I didn’t have so I used dark brown)

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar (Recipe called for 3/4 cup, but I didn’t want it to be too sweet)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until combined.

4. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the peanut butter and powdered sugar for the filling until smooth.  Taste sweetness, and add more if you want.  I like adding less because then the peanut butter flavor really shines through, with a touch of saltiness that adds a lot to the cookie.

5. In a small bowl, put some extra granulated sugar for rolling the cookies.

6. Use a medium cookie scoop (or heaping tablespoon) of cookie dough and flatten it with your hands. Take about 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter filling (or a small cookie scoop) and place it in the center of the chocolate dough. Wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter center, pressing to seal.  I don’t have cookie scoops so used a tablespoon and a teaspoon.  Add a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter, I didn’t add enough and had a little filling left over. Roll the cookie into a ball and roll in the sugar. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand.

7. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Oreo Tunneled Bundt Cake

For me bunt cakes are one of my favorite cakes to bake. They look stunning, not like plain old sheet cake. Also, they are easy to make, not like those layered cakes which need a special occasion to really shine. This bunt cake has an added bonus of an Oreo cream cheese filling sandwiched between two layers of moist, gooey chocolate cake.

Of course I forgot to take a picture after we sliced it so you could see the ribbon of cream  cheese running through the cake, I guess I was too busy stuffing my face! But you have to trust me, you will love it. Just picture the creamy filling in stark contrast to the dark cake. I used Hershey’s recipe for the cake but you could be lazy and just use a box cake mix. It will still taste amazing I promise.

For the cake:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup  Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the filling

  • 1 package cream cheese (8oz or 200g) softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped Oreos
  1. Heat oven to 180C. Grease and flour a large bunt pan.
  2. For the cake:  Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
  3. In a separate medium sized bowl mix together the cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.Fold in the chopped Oreos.
  4. In the bunt pan pour in half the cake batter. Then spoon the cream cheese filling on top. Finish by pouring the second half of the cake batter.
  5.  Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
  6. To make the glaze, just mix some confectioner’s sugar with milk until you reach your desired consistency. Pipe over the cooled cake.

Enjoy!

– M

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