Thursday, August 26, 2010

Organic Almond Shortbread

Sometimes it's difficult to find that perfect, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. The kind with a light crisp but still has a deep butter flavor that is sweet with a little salt. Agree? I think this recipe really hits the spot. It might be the tastiest shortbread I have had. If not, it comes close. Check out my Christmas shortbread... it's wonderful too! My Coraline Shortbread is great as well (cutest cookie ever!). This little cookie begs to be dunked in a cup of coffee but is also great standing alone. I chose to use all organic ingredients for this recipe to see how much of a difference I noticed and... I did notice a more unique and full flavor. More than that, the texture was terrific and I know that is due to the flour. Organic flour goes through much less processing and makes for softer, more consistent baking.

Organic Almond Shortbread

1 C organic unsalted butter (room temp)
1/2 C organic brown sugar
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 t salt
2 C organic flour

Cream butter, brown sugar and extract for five minutes (it should be pale and fluffy). Add salt and flour and mix until it comes together. Form the remaining crumbles into the dough with your hands and preheat your oven to 350. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough out to a 8x12" rectangle and slice into squares/rectangles. Place on baking sheets and pierce with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cheese Filled Filo Puffs

Last week my friend Becky of VintageMixer arranged an evening for several of us local SLC foodies to gather at her home to discuss her husband, Josh Rosenthal's, new book 'An Oak Tree Late In Winter'. We were each asked to bring a small plate/light appetizer to nibble on while we shared our feelings on the book and discussed life and the memories that fill it, together, as friends. I chose this small plate and I was delighted with it. It's delicate and full of flavor. I'd serve it again... and will. It was an evening I enjoyed very much and I encourage you to get yourself a copy of Josh's book. It is an honest and open expression of Josh and will hit the heart of every reader in a very personal way, I am sure. It is a great joy for me to have the chance to give the book a little plug here on my little blog. For more information go here.
Cheese Filled Filo Puffs

1/2 C ricotta cheese
8 oz feta cheese, crumbled
6 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 C chopped Italian parsley
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
9 sheets frozen filo dough, thawed
1/3 C butter, melted

In a large bowl combine the cheeses, garlic, parsley, egg, salt and pepper. After thoroughly washing your hands, combine all ingredients completely. Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly oil 2 baking sheets. Roll Filo out into one flat stack and cut lengthwise into thirds. Brush dough lightly with butter and work with one strip at a time. Place one tablespoon of the filling about one inch up from the bottom of the strip and bring the corner up over it. Continue in the same motion (folding corner over corner) until you reach the top of the strip, tuck under and place on a baking sheet. Continue until all filling/dough is used up and brush all of the tops with butter. Bake until edges are golden brown (about 20 minutes) and allow to cool slightly before serving.

*When working with Filo, keep the dough you are not working directly with covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mactweets Challenge #10 A Summer Flick

This months Mactweets challenge was to design a macaron around a favorite film. Being a total pop culture fiend, I was yet again... excited!!! Although I am late posting (I have good reason... my daughter turned 13 this past weekend, we decided to completely redo her room for her birthday and have torn our home apart in doing so, my baby started kindergarten... these sorts of things have put me behind), I did put a lot of thought into this. I really tried to think of a clever way to design a macaron showing my love for the late John Hughes who created the majority of my favorite movies: Pretty In Pink (my all time favorite movie ever), The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, She's Having a Baby, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Some Kind Of Wonderful, Weird Science plus about... oh... 100 more but I could not come up with one that summed up his genius and someone already did Pretty In Pink macs for the song challenge. What other movies do I love? I love The Family Stone but could not think of a mac to fit it. I love Chocolat but that's too simple. I love Dan In Real Life but again... a mac? Then it hit me. My childhood favorite movie was (well, is) Grease. Grease IS the word.

My macarons are "The T Birds" meet "The Pink Ladies"...


1 C powdered sugar 3 T plus 1t sugar
1/2 C almond meal 1 T black Wilton gel color
2 aged egg whites

Lingonberry Cream~

1/2 C butter 3 C powdered sugar
1/4 C lingonberry syrup
2 t pink Wilton gel color

Combine powdered sugar and almond meal in a bowl. Set aside. Beat egg whites until they are glossy and firm then add sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks for
m then add the food color and beat until combined. Fold egg whites into the almond meal mixture with a rubber spatula quickly but gently until completely combined. Put the mixture into a pastry bag and pipe out onto a template. Allow the shells to rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes then place in a preheated 280 degree oven (I bake mine convection) for 12-15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on the sheet and then on a rack. For the lingonberry cream; whip butter for 5 minutes and gradually add powdered sugar then syrup (it will tint pink) and then the food color. Pipe into shell centers and sandwich together.

Monday, August 16, 2010


If you think homemade doughnuts are difficult, you are wrong. I thought the same thing till I tried them on my own. Read through this post and nothing is stopping you from serving delicious doughnuts for brunch this weekend. They just take a little planning... like any bread. Start them the night before or early the morning you plan to enjoy them. I like my doughnuts simple but I know a lot of people enjoy them glazed and sprinkled and frosted to the gills. Doll them up however you wish, stack them on a platter placed in the center of your dining table and spend some time eating with the people you love.

Homemade Donuts

2 1/4 t active dry yeast
2 T warm water
3 1/4 C flour (plus a little extra)
1 C room temp. milk
1/2 stick butter, softened
3 egg yolks
2 T sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 nutmeg

6-8 C oil for frying

Combine yeast and warm water in a bowl, stir to combine and allow yeast to foam 5 minutes. Combine flour, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in your mixer and add yeast mixture. Mix for 5 minutes. Scrape the dough down and sprinkle lightly with flour (this prevents a crust from forming on your dough). Cover with a warm, damp towel and allow to rise for 2 hours or place in the refrigerator overnight.

Roll dough out onto a floured surface until it is about 12" in diameter. Cut out one dozen donuts with a doughnut cutter and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise 45 minutes. Fill a deep pot 1/2 way with oil and heat to 350. Place 2-3 doughnuts at a time in the pan and fry 2 minutes on each side (until lightly browned) and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. From this point, I like to place them in a paper sack with sugar and shake them till they are covered in a nice sugar coating to make sugar doughnuts but my family also enjoys the following 2 glazes:

Espresso Glaze

1/4 C water
1/2 C maple syrup
3 T sugar
3T espresso powder
3 T powdered sugar

Bring all ingredients to a boil until completely dissolved and spoon over warm doughnuts. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve.

Lemon Glaze

1/4 C water
2 T butter
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 C powdered sugar

Bring all ingredients to a boil until completely dissolved and spoon over warm doughnuts. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and serve.

*Make sure to fry up the doughnut holes too! Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar... such a childhood memory!

Monday, August 9, 2010

2 recipes in 1 post

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

2 1/4 t active dry yeast
1/4 C sugar1 1/4 C warm milk
1/2 stick butter-room temp.1 t salt
1 egg
3/4 t nutmeg
4 C flour

2 T sugar
3 t cinnamon
2 t unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine yeast, a pinch of sugar and 1/4 cup of the warm milk in a bowl and allow to rest for 3-5 minutes. The yeast will be soft.
In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 cup of the warm milk, the butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Mix for 3 minutes. Add the salt, egg, vanilla and nutmeg (freshly grated or organic are best). Mix for another minute. Your mixture will look lumpy... expect this and add the yeast mixture, mixing for another two minutes. Add
2 1/2 cups of the flour, combine and remove the paddle. Add your dough hook attachment now. Add another 1 cup of flour and mix. The dough will be sticky now... add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and knead on low for about 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and shiny.
Butter a large bowl and turn the dough once, into it. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in volume (1-2 hours). Place the dough ball onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap tightly. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes (I placed
mine in the refrigerator overnight).
Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon and cocoa. Lightly flour a large work surface and roll the dough out to 12x18. Butter the surface and sprinkle with the dry mixture. Roll, starting with the short side of the dough. Place roll into a buttered bread pan and tuck the ends under the bottom. Let dough rise 1 hour and place pan on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375. Melt the remaining butter and brush over the top of the loaf. Bake for 20 minutes and then tent with foil for an additional 20 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, invert onto a rack and cool completely.

This bread is delicious served warm with butter and ja
m and also makes an INCREDIBLE french toast. This bread takes some time but good things come to those who wait and patience is a virtue, right? It's amazing and makes everyone enjoying it feel loved. There is something special and cozy about warm bread and butter... especially when they come with homemade jam!

Easy as it gets Fresh Plum Jam

2 1/2 pounds fresh plums
1 C sugar
1/4 t almond extract

Wash plums thoroughly and slice them, removing pits but keeping the skin on. Place all of the sliced plums into a large pot and cook for 5 minut
es, stirring frequently so as not to burn the tender fruit. Add all of the sugar and mix well. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat and add the almond extract. Cool for 15 minutes, in the pot, then transfer to a food processor or blender and blend really well. Transfer to the jars of your choice (I used Kerr 1/2 pint jars), seal and lid, turn upside down while hot and allow to cool, countertop, upside down. Once cooled these will keep for 2 months unopened and 1 month opened and refrigerated.
I love fresh, simple jam. No pectin, not many additions, just a few basic ingredients. The plums have a natural spice to them so this almost pulls a cinnamon/spice flavor. It's delectable.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


How cool is this?!!? August 10th is Duran Duran Appreciation Day! Yeah... they have their very own appreciation day! I love the boys of Duran times 2... sigh... swoon... Simon... how I loved you... love you. Who doesn't like Duran Duran? Really? They are all things that made the 80's grand: beautiful group of musically minded guys with the fashion sense (ok I admit... "fashion sense" might be pushing it for the 80's) to boot! They could sing and make music videos like nobody's business. They had us girls eating it up (with a spoon... like gag me!). Come on... tell me you didn't want to paint your face like a tiger and sing 'Rio' at top volume! And the colored leather vests with no shirt under?!? Please!

Sooo... my like minded pal Chris of Melecotte thought a
dedicatory blog post was in order and I was all about being a part of it! Ode to Duran Duran; Hungry Like the Wolf Blog Event. Make a dish of your choosing, tie it to the band and post. Done deal!

From the hit that is 'Rio' I give you "Cherry Ice Cream smile... I suppose it's very nice..."


2 Cups fresh, pitted cherries
1 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 Cups vanilla flavored yogurt

Remove the pits from your cherries and toss into a bowl along with the sugar and almond extract. Allow to chill for on
e hour to "marinate". Stir in lemon juice and yogurt and pour into your prepared ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers directions. Freeze completely for at least one hour and up to one week in the freezer.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Zucchini Brownies

People from Utah know zucchini. If you don't grow it yourself, your neighbor does and is willing to unload an abundance of it on you for the duration of the summer. I am always shocked to hear how many non-Utah friends have never heard of zucchini brownies. It shocks them to hear I make them. Zucchini is versatile. You can fry it, bake it, eat it raw, julienne it into a delicious summer pasta, add it to a fresh salad, saute' it and even sneak it into brownies! Not only does it give brownies at least some nutritional value, it makes them heavenly. The zucchini gives the brownie added moisture and volume and really makes them quite irresistible. I top mine off with a dark cocoa butter cream and they don't last two days before they are eaten up.

This is a recipe that started in my father's kitchen, got better with my mother's touch and has been perfected (wink) in my kitchen. Enjoy
my fellow foodie friends!


1 1/2C sugar
1/2C vegetable oil
2C all purpose flour
1/4C cocoa
2C peeled and shredded zu
2t vanilla
1t salt
1 1/2t baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x11 baking pan.
In a stand mixer combine the sugar, oil and flour. While mixing, on low, add cocoa, zucchini, vanilla, salt and baking soda until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are darker then center and center is set. Cool completely and frost with the following:

1C unsalted butter
4C powdered sugar
1/4C cocoa1t vanilla

Whip butter until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes) and add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until combined. Add cocoa and vanilla and whip an additional 3 minutes. Frost the brownies generously.