Monthly Archives

June 2010

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

June 17, 2010

I officially have no life. Wait, check that, I have a life and it consists of traveling in the car and going to weddings. Case in point? My last six days.
They went something like this…
Drove three hours back to northwest Iowa for a wedding. Spent a day baking hundreds of cupcakes and a wedding cake. Went to said wedding. Drove back home early Monday morning (6 a.m. early) and went straight to work. Sweated it out at hot yoga. Went to bed. Slept ten glorious hours. Woke up. Blogged about veggie burgers. Went to work. Sweated it out at spin class with my editor. Returned home. Did laundry. Packed again. Made cookies. Decided they needed ice cream. Nine more hours of sleep. Went to work. Returned home. Made ice cream sandwiches. High-tailed it back to northwest Iowa for yet another wedding. Now prepping to make another cake. 
Don’t make a wedding cake. Ever. Even for fun. Because if you show the slightest aptitude for it, you may find yourself making many cakes, unable to say no. You’ll question why you said yes, then swell with pride when you see your finished creation and forget about all the stress and hours of hard labor.
Instead, make these Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. I made them, and now they are back home in my freezer, waiting to be eaten since I didn’t have time this week. But believe me, when I return it will be at the top of my to do list.

And, as promised, pictures of the wedding cake from last week! 
You can view the cake by clicking here. 

White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
(Printable Recipe)
*2 sticks butter, softened
*1 1/2 cups sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*2 large eggs
*1 tsp. baking soda
*1 tsp. baking powder
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. coconut extract
*2 cups quick cooking (instant) oats
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*1/2 cup whole wheat flour
*1 cup white chocolate chips
*2 pints caramel ice cream (I used Ben & Jerry’s Dulce Delish)
*Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
*Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Beat 2 minutes, until fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
*Beat in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and coconut extract.
*Add in the oats, followed by the flours, beating until just combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips by hand.
*Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Cool completely on wire racks.
*Scoop ice cream onto half of the cookies. Top with remaining cookies. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.
Happy Baking!

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

June 15, 2010

A few months ago I did something I never thought possible, something a little crazy, a tad unusual, and something that made J’s dad, a cattle farmer, scratch his head in bewilderment. I became a vegetarian. It started over dinner at a Mexican restaurant near my apartment while eating with a good friend. She introduced me to a website of a family living and eating vegan. That means no meat, cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs – basically anything that comes from animals, not just the animals themselves.
I knew going vegan was not for me, since yogurt, milk, and butter play a huge role in my kitchen. But it did get me thinking about vegetarianism, not because I believe there is something ethically wrong with eating meat, but more because I was inspired by the idea of eating more. Eating more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, the things most often tossed aside in the traditional American diet.
Sharing this on Espresso and Cream was something I’ve been avoiding for months now because I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea. I don’t think everyone needs to be a vegetarian; I’m not even sure how long vegetarianism will be a part of my own life. What I can say, however, is that I’ve learned a lot about how important it is to eat plenty of fruits and veggies and how hard that can be.

The question I am most frequently asked now when people find out I’ve been living vegetarian is, “How do you get enough protein?” Well there are plenty of ways, but one of the most delicious ways is a good old fashioned burger. Well, a Black Bean Veggie Burger to be exact. I’ve tried quite a few commercial veggie burgers. They aren’t all that bad, some are even pretty good, but they all just taste a bit too manufactured after you’ve had a homemade patty like this. And isn’t that the case with all homemade things? They just taste so much better.
Because veggie burgers are a bit more delicate than the meat variety they don’t hold up as well to grilling. If you do want to toss them on a grill, go ahead and bake them as instructed for 30 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to grill. Then, toss them on a well-oiled grill for 10 minutes, flipping once half way through cooking. 
Black Bean Veggie Burgers
(Printable Recipe) 
*1/2 cup shredded carrots
*1 medium bell pepper of any color, seeded and quartered
*1/2 to 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and halved
*1/2 tsp. ground cumin
*1/2 tsp. ground coriander
*1/4 tsp. paprika
*1 tsp. kosher salt
*1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
*1 clove garlic, peeled
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1/2 cup rolled oats
*2 Cans Black Beans, Rinsed and Drained
*Preheat oven to 300*F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In the bowl of a food processor, place all the ingredients except the black beans. Pulse for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the ingredients are finely chopped but still have a some texture.
*Add in 3/4 of the black beans (note: not 3/4 cup, 3/4 of all the beans) and continue to pulse with the food processor for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the beans start to break down and ingredients begin to hold together.
*Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining black beans by hand. Form mixture into six patties and place on baking sheet.
*Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until edges become crisp and patties start to hold together. Allow patties to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before placing on bun. Or refrigerate until ready to use, then reheat in the oven or microwave.
Happy Cooking!

Breakfast Bowl Celebration

June 13, 2010
Whew! The last two days are a complete blur. I hardly remember much of Friday, when baking 300 cupcakes and making a wedding cake took over my life and was a bit too exhausted on Saturday to remember much, either. I can, however, say the wedding was lovely, the bride was beautiful, and I think everyone had a pretty amazing time. Oh, and the cupcakes were well-received, too! 
Because I am a creature of habit, I will be eating this breakfast bowl and curling up with a cup of coffee to celebrate wedding success and being done. One, because it’s delicious. Two, because I eat the same thing for breakfast practically every morning. It’s not much of a recipe, but it does get the job done day in and day out. Even when I am back in my childhood home I find a way to eat this tasty combo, and if you find yourself looking for a healthy, yummy breakfast, you should try it, too.
Breakfast Bowl
*1 (7-oz.) container 2% Greek yogurt or other low-fat yogurt
*1 cup fresh or frozen berries or other type of chopped fruit
*1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal or Quaker Squares cereal 
*1 Tbsp. Homemade Nut Butter
Happy Eating!

Chocolate Revel Bars

June 11, 2010

No time for extra words today because after I post these Chocolate Revel Bars, I’ll be heading to a church kitchen a few miles away to spend the day baking. Baking 300 cupcakes and a two tiered wedding cake to be exact. Sure I’ve done this before, it seems that every time wedding season comes around I commit to at least a few weddings, but it never gets any less stressful. 
I play it cool and collected every time. But inside, I’m always freaking out!
I’ll be posting photos of the preparations and the actual event once the craziness of this weekend has begun to subside, but until then these Chocolate Revel Bars will have to do. And boy are they something. Everyone who has ever been to a church potluck in my neck of the woods has most likely eaten their fair share of these bars. 
Maybe it’s because they’re easy, or because they are delicious, or because they go well with milk and mix creamy chocolate filling with the crunch of an oatmeal cookie. Whatever the reason, they are pretty darn irresistible.
Chocolate Revel Bars
Recipe courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens 
(Printable Recipe)
*1 cup butter, softened 
*2 cups packed brown sugar 
*1 teaspoon baking soda 
*2 eggs 
*2 teaspoons vanilla 
*2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
*3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats 
*1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces 
*1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk 
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 
*2 teaspoons vanilla 
1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats.
2. For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the reserved 2 tablespoons butter, the chocolate pieces, and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the nuts and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
3. Press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the rolled oats mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan or a 13×9-inch baking pan. Spread filling evenly over the oats mixture. Dot remaining rolled oats mixture on filling (see photo, below).
4. Bake for about 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned (chocolate filling will still look moist). Cool pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. 
Happy Baking!

Lemon Loaf Cake

June 9, 2010

Growing up for most of my life as an only child I highly valued my alone time. Time to think, relax, dance around the house in my pajamas, you get the picture. Sure, I have two younger sisters that I love very much, but seeing as they live in Florida with my dad and step-mom, the day-to-day of life was an only child scenario.
Oh boy did I grow to love that alone time, much of which was spent cooking, baking, and browsing through the shelves of cookbooks my mom had acquired throughout the years. Cookbooks from Southern Living, Ina Garten, The Joy of Cooking, and The Silver Palate Cookbook. I cooked them all in my desire to learn more, but there was one cookbook I never touched: The Way to Cook by Julia Child.
Last month while back home during a brief moment of coveted alone time curiosity got the better of me. Why had I never cooked even a single Julia Child recipe? I remember watching her television specials on PBS, loved the movie Julie and Julia and believe wholeheartedly in the work she did to further great cooking in America, but her recipes never had me clamoring for the kitchen. 

I wish I could say browsing through The Way to Cook changed my mind, but that would be a lie. It felt the same way I remembered: stiff, formal, and labor intensive. So I put the book back on the shelf and accepted that cooking a la Julia Child might not be my thing. 

But just when I thought it was not meant to be I stumbled across this recipe for lemon loaf cake. Found in Julia Child’s Baking with Julia, this bright, lemony loaf is enough to make anyone smile. If happiness had a mascot, this loaf would be it. And bucking my belief that all Julia recipes are fussy and complicated, this lemon loaf cake is incredibly straightforward. 
So this summer I will be baking and enjoying lemon loaf cake, and with each bite I will be eating my words. Turns out, Julia really knew what she was talking about after all.
Lemon Loaf Cake
From Baking with Julia by Julia Child
(Printable Recipe)
*4 eggs at room temperature
*1 1/3 cups sugar
*pinch of salt
*Grated zest of 3 large lemons
*1 3/4 cups cake flour
*1/2 tsp. baking powder
*1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
*5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
*Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess. 
*Working in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt for just a minute, until foamy and smoothly blended; the mixture should not thicken. Whisk in the grated zest.
*Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift about a third of the dry ingredients over the foamy egg mixture. Whisk the flour into the eggs, mixing lightly – there’s no need to beat. Sift the flour over the eggs in two more additions and whisk only until everything is incorporated. Whisk the heavy cream into the mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently and quickly fold in the melted butter.
*Baking the cake: Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan – it will level itself – and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the center of the cake crowns and cracks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature right side up on a rack.
(I topped my loaf with a simple powdered sugar glaze made with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup milk) 
Happy Baking!
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