Traditional French Madeleines

Here’s the thing about these little treats– they are my all-time favorite.  And by all time I mean literally all time.  There’s something about the spongy, zesty, sweet cakes being dipped into a hot coffee or tea that just… it brings me to my happy place.

And let me tell you something else about these sumbitches… they’re hard.  The preparation is a pain in the butt, the flavor is fickle, and the batter is so delicate one wrong move will cause it to fall and the whole thing turns into bitter failure.  They also require a pan which you literally can’t use for anything other than madeleines.  Except maybe a chocolate mold if for some reason you want some weird sort of sea shell shaped chocolates?  Hey it could work, right?

Either way, buying the pan for me was worth it.  Modifying the recipes I’ve been playing with was too.  If you can make it work though, trust me, you’ll want to treat yourself to something nice and snazzy as a reward.

So here we go.

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Ingredients-

1- large egg and 2 egg yolks (this can also be substituted as two large eggs) all room temp

6- tbsp butter (melted and then brought to room temp, but still liquid)

1- tsp vanilla

1/3- cup granulated sugar

1/2- cup cake flour (this is important)

3- tbsp lemon zest (depending on your desire for lemony flavor.  I used the zest of three lemons for this batch)

 

For this recipe we will not be preheating our oven.  The dough must chill at least 2 hours before baking, so keep that on hold.

Start by putting your eggs and/or yolks into a mixing bowl and add in the sugar.  With your stand or hand mixer, use the whisk attachment and set to medium. 

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Whisk for five to seven minutes, or until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage.  The ribbon stage is basically when you lift the whisk (while it’s off– yes I made this mistake– more than once.  I know, I am ashamed) out of the batter and it slowly drizzles down in a sort of ribbon pattern.  There are some fantastic youtube videos if you need clarification on what exactly the ribbon stage is going to look like.  Also if you’re using a hand mixer be prepared for epic muscle aches.  Seven minutes is a long, LONG time.

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Next you’re going to add the lemon zest to the butter and give a good stir.  Let it sit for a good minute or so.  The next step can be done one of two ways. 

Option one you can add the vanilla to the butter and lemon, and add that to the egg mixture and slowly fold in with a rubber spatula.  Then you add in the flour folding in about two tbsp at a time until fully incorporated.  Doing this prevents the egg mixture from falling because you want to keep it light and airy.

Or, option two (which is what I prefer) you add the flour into the butter and lemon mixture and stir until fully combined.  Add the vanilla to the egg mixture and fold in with the rubber spatula.  Using a hand whisk (not the mixer) gently whisk together the eggs and flour-butter until combined into a light dough.  This method will give you slightly denser cakes.  Be very careful you don’t over-whisk and cause the dough to fall completely.

Next prep your madeleine pan with a little bit of butter and flour (shaking off excess flour into the sink).

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Fill your madeleine molds almost completely full, leaving just a slight bit of room at the top.  Make sure you clean up any excess that spills on the side because it won’t have a pleasing smell in the oven when it starts crisping.  (And yes, I also learned this the hard way.)

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Place the pan into the fridge and let set at least two hours, preferably three.  You can even cover and let set overnight, or up to two days if necessary.  Once the dough has been chilled, set on the counter, preheat your oven to 375F.  Place pan in the oven once preheated and cook for about 7-8 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown.  I usually check about a minute early, and pat the tops.  If they spring back, the cakes are done.  If they depress, they need another minute or two.

Remove from oven and remove from pan and set on a cooling rack.  When cookies reach room temperature, sprinkle with some confectioner’s sugar and serve.

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These cookies keep fairly well if you keep them in an airtight container.  They last about a week and a half, and even longer if frozen.  Enjoyed best with a hot beverage for dunking.

If you don’t want to take on this task, feel free to place an order with my etsy shop and have some shipped out asap.

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Oatmeal Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

So the other day one of my favorite cousins pointed out that oatmeal cookies are only sold in stores with raisins.  Raisins!  Raisin oatmeal cookies are the devil, okay?  The devil.  Because you think they’re chocolate chips and they never are and then you need therapy for two years!

Or you know, you become a baker so kitchen travesties like that never happen again and you soon begin to trust people (though you’re never the same, are you?).  Plus oatmeal cookie dough is one of my favorite things ever and any excuse to shove it in my face and I’ll take it!  Another thing I love almost as much as the dough are butterscotch chips.  I’m not a huge butterscotch fan in general but there’s something about it in chip form which makes me all tingly inside.  I also don’t like cinnamon in my cookies.  It’s my favorite spice of all time but in my cookies just… just no.  Step away from the cookies Mr. Ceylon.  You’re not wanted here.

Anyway so that prompted me to make up this blog, and also encouraged me to get baking again since it’s been a while and I need to get my behind in gear to get this etsy shop started.  Honestly having whoopie pies and fudge on there isn’t exactly screaming, BUY ALL MY ITEMS, yanno?

So without further ado, here are the cookies.

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First step we need our ingredients and our handy dandy…

Goddamn it Steve, no.  No notebook.  We’ve talked about this.  *sob*  I miss you Steve.  I miss you

We need our handy dandy… MIXER.  And the rest of this stuff too.

IMAG3237Ingredients:

3- sticks butter (1 1/2 cups) room temperature

1- cup granulated sugar

1 1/3- cup dark brown sugar

2- eggs room temperature

1- tbsp vanilla

3- cups flour (I use cake or bread flour for my cookies, but you can also use all purpose)

1 1/2- cup oats

1- tsp baking soda

1- tsp baking powder

1/2- tsp salt

1/2- cup butterscotch chips

1- cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350F.  In your stand mixer, add in the butter (which yeah okay I know it’s a lot but it’s necessary.  You can substitute coconut oil if you like, or even go half and half.  If you do this, keep all your ingredients AND your mixing bowl cold).  Cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar.  Beat for about 2 minutes or until very fluffy.  Like a fluffy little cloud.  (remember to scrape the sides)

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Next add in the vanilla and combine for a few seconds.  Then add in eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly until fully mixed.  Turn off your mixer and in a separate bowl, combine half the flour with the baking soda, baking powder, and salt and give a good whisk.  With your rubber spatula, gently mix in the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Add in the remaining flour, folding over and stirring gently until combined.

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Add in the oats, folding gently until the oats are fully incorporated into the dough.  This requires a lot of muscle, which is why I recommend doing this by hand.  Especially if your mixer is made of failure and sorrow like mine.

Once this is done, add in the chips and give a good couple stirs until you have some sort of chips in every bite.  Or you know, a little bit of dough with your chips.

IMAG3242Line a baking pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper.  Now, at this point you can refrigerate your dough (which I recommend especially if you’re using coconut oil) for about thirty minutes.  It helps if you want taller, more rotund cookies.  If you’re like me and you don’t care, then quickly take your obligatory eating cookie dough selfie, and then start spooning.

10639720_10203535192352772_8749078550222618875_nUsing a tea spoon, (or tablespoon, who are we kidding here, who wants tiny baby cookies, amirite?) spoon out about one dozen per pan and place into the oven for about 9-10 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.

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Once finished, let sit on a cooling rack for as long as you can stand it (so in my case about 5 seconds before I have molten-lava-hot cookie and melted chips running down my gullet) and then serve.  Cookies keep well wrapped tightly in plastic, in an airtight container, or you can even freeze them if you have the willpower to save them.

This batch makes about three dozen medium sized cookies, more or less if you’re going larger or smaller.  Remember to reduce your baking time by about a minute if you’re going smaller than this.  Otherwise… enjoy!

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Buy these HERE on etsy!

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

I’ve been planning to make and post this one for a while.  Not just because I love peanut butter and chocolate (which my god do I ever!) but because I really wanted to put something together that was both delicious and vegan friendly.  I have a lot of friends who are either vegan or can’t do dairy and I remember thinking to myself, if I ever had to give up dairy I would just curl up in a ball and never get up again.

Of course that’s not actually true.  But I’d miss reeses peanut butter cups more than I could possibly explain in words.  That’s what prompted this recipe.  Well, that and discovering how well coconut oil is a butter/shortening substitute.  Honestly you can make this recipe vegan or non, and you’ll probably want to use the refined coconut oil if you want to avoid the coconutty flavor (which I actually like so it doesn’t bother me) but dairy or non, this fudge is some of the best I’ve had in a while.  It’s seriously pretty much like eating a reeses PB cup.

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If you want to make this recipe non-vegan, just substitute butter in place of the oil, and milk in place of the plant-based milk.  But I urge you to try it vegan, you won’t be disappointed!

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Fudge Ingredients:

1/2- cup semi-hard coconut oil (refined or unrefined depending on your preference)

1/2- cup soy milk (or any plant-based milk)

2- cups brown sugar

1-tsp vanilla

2/3- cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, but all natural won’t work well in this recipe so I’d avoid it)

3 1/2- cups confectioner’s sugar

Chocolate Topping Ingredients:

1 3/4- cup semi-sweet, dairy free chocolate chips

1/2- cup coconut oil

Add the coconut oil and brown sugar to a sauce pan and heat between low and medium until the oil is melted and combined with the sugar. 

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Next add in the milk, stir until combined, then add in the vanilla and let mixture boil for a full two minutes, until the mixture is light brown and very bubbly at the top.

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Turn off heat, and add in peanut butter, stirring until completely combined.  Mixture will be thickened and almost caramel-y.  In a separate bowl, add in the three and a half cups of confectioner’s sugar, and pour the peanut butter mixture over the top.

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Stir until fully combined.  The mixture will be doughy and soft, almost like a cookie dough.  It should not stick to your finger when you touch it.  If it does, add in more confectioner’s sugar one teaspoon at a time until it’s tacky but doesn’t stick to your finger.

Line an 8×8 pan with non-stick foil or wax paper and pour in fudge.  There should be about half to quarter of an inch space at the top for the chocolate.  Spread fudge out with rubber spatula, running it across the top to create a smooth surface.

In a bowl or sauce pan, combine chocolate chips and coconut oil and either melt on the stove with low heat, or microwave for about 45 seconds.  Stir until the chocolate chips and oil are melted and combined, then pour mixture over the top of the fudge and spread out with spatula until all surface is covered and even.

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You can either top with more chocolate, chopped PB cups, or leave as is.  Place fudge on flat surface in the fridge and cool for approx 2 hours, until fudge is hard and ready to cut.  When the fudge is ready, loosen the foil edges and lift from the pan.  Using a sharp knife, slice into desired squares and serve. 

Fudge should be kept wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in cool temperatures.  Although if you’re anything like me, there won’t be much time for saving.  Just devouring.

Three Cheese Bacon Mac’n’Cheese

There are few things I love more than cheese and bacon.  Maybe a fresh grilled buffalo burger or steaming bowl of Pho, but I rarely crave anything more than I do a creamy, savory plate of mac’n’cheese.  It’s hard to get right, too.  I can’t even begin to describe how many times I’ve come home from a restaurant after having a serving of a dish with an impossibly creamy, tangy sauce, tried to replicate it, and wept alone on my sofa with bitter failure.  I scoured the interwebz for the best recipe.  You need to find that balance between the stringy cheese and the creamy one (god could I possibly use the word creamy more right now?  Wow, Angella.)

My first experiment was with a roux.  Cook flour in butter, mix in milk and then the cheese and viola.  Except with a roux you always risk that sort of gritty floury texture and it’s never that flavor of just cheese.  It always has that gluten-y undertone which takes away from it.  It’s great for the casseroles but for a side dish well… it’s just not for me.

Several recipes I undertook went with velveeta.  And I tried it.  And yeah it wasn’t bad.  It definitely had the cream-factor.  But it also well… tasted like velveeta, and that wasn’t exactly what I was going for.  Then it hit me, and I realized why be complicated?  You want a creamy, cheesy mac’n’cheese?  So mix cream and cheese.

BOOM!  Yeah.  I did it.  And it was amazing.

Then what?  Bacon?  Yeah, eff yeah bacon.  Bacon makes things better.  All things better.  Even chocolate, okay?  It just does.

Now, the trick to this recipe is three things.  1- a stringy cheese like cheddar or colby jack or swiss if you want a bolder flavor, or even mozz if you want something super mild.  2- a soft cheese.  I went with goat’s cheese because I just have this special love affair with goat’s cheese that I cannot describe into words.  But you could use pretty much any soft, crumbles.  Bleu, feta, gorgonzola (which yeah I know it’s a bleu but it’s like different than the standard bleu).  I’d avoid ricotta because it’s really gritty and won’t mix into the cream well.  3- something salty and savory to sautee like bacon.  But if you want to make this dish vegetarian, I’d recommend frying up some fresh garlic or maybe even some red peppers.  You just need that edge.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Oh and a little note before we begin- my pictures are total crap this time.  It was storming like crazy yesterday (which is what prompted the craving for the dish) and my stove light burnt out and just… it was a mess.  So yeah.  Sorry.

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Yeah you love me now, don’t you?

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni (though any small noodle will do, including rice noodles)

3- strips bacon

1- tsp chopped garlic

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup goat’s cheese (or any softer cheese that crumbles)

1/2 cup cheddar (or any stringy, hard cheese)

1/4 cup feta

1 chopped tomato (roma works best, but you can also go with sundried)

1 tsp salt

Start by heating up your frying pan on medium.  On a cutting board, dice your bacon into small pieces (remember the pieces will shrink when you cook, so go slightly larger than you want them to be when you eat it).  Next chop up what will equal to about 1 tsp fresh garlic (or if you’re like me, spoon out from your pre-chopped garlic jar) and add both garlic and bacon to the pan.  Give a good stir.

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Begin to boil water for your macaroni.  Remember, don’t add the macaroni noodles until the water is at a rolling boil.  As that cooks, continue to stir the bacon until crispy.  Once finished, remove from heat and drain about half to 2/3rds the bacon grease, reserving the rest in the pan to coat the noodles (you want no more than a tablespoon of grease in the pan).

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In a sauce pan, began to heat up 1 1/2 cups heavy cream in between low and medium heat.  Keep an eye on it and just before the cream begins to bubble, add in the cheddar and goat cheese, and tsp of salt.  Whisk on medium heat until the cheese and cream are fully combined into the sauce.

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Okay I know it looks super yellow and I blame that on my kitchen’s worst lighting EVER.

When the noodles are finished, drain and rinse under cold water to prevent them from overcooking.  Shake dry, then add the noodles to the frying pan and with a wooden spoon or spatula, give the noodles, bacon, and garlic a toss together.  When the noodles are coated, pour on the cheese mixture and stir until fully combined.

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In a separate bowl, combine the chopped tomato and quarter cup of feta.  Serve out individual portions of the mac’n’cheese and top with the feta tomato and serve.

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I know, I posted this one already but it’s worth looking at twice.  Mmm.

That’s it.  That’s the whole thing!  It’s too easy and too delicious.  The only warning I have is beware the cheese belly, because it is a cruel summbitch.  But so worth it. 

Note: another add in which I did a few nights ago are black or green olives and roasted red peppers.  Mix them in with the tomato-feta topping.  So delish.  So worth it.

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Sit down kiddies and let me tell you a story.  Once upon a time this morning I made this post and hit the backspace key by accident and suddenly my post was gone.  And along with it, there was no saved draft category in my dashboard.  Cue throwing of things, swearing, stomping of feet, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Pretty much this was me

 

Then suddenly, like a miracle, as I sat down at my computer to redo all my work (and those who know me personally know how much I HATE REWRITING THINGS), I hit the new post button and what do I find?  The post has appeared!  So without further ado, the cinnamon rolls!

 

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So let’s face it, there’s nothing better than a hot, sweet, sticky cinnamon roll.  You know the moment you step into any mall, the first thing you smell, (and crave to the point of actual pain) is a Cinnabon.  That frosty, squishy, tasty–sometimes crunchy if you’re like me and get the sticks– treat that permeates every shop within a 5 mile mall radius.  And yeah, the task of making a huge, delicious, squashy cinnamon roll is, well, intense.

These are not cinnabon cinnamon rolls.  I know, I led you on for a minute there.  I apologize from the bottom of my heart.  Honestly what I have here is a decent sized, flaky, buttery roll with just enough filling and frosting to get you through the morning.  Not something that will leave you with cinnamon-belly (trust me, it’s a thing) all day long.  Something you can prop up next to your coffee and nosh down with relish and not want to die a little inside after.  Save the cinnabon for the mall, and serve these up at your next breakfast.

Now, these buns I made are overnighters.  Mostly because I didn’t want to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to prep, mix, and knead dough.  I wanted to be able to pull out a pan, let them rise, bake, frost, and serve.  As breakfasts should be.  No kneading before 8 AM, dang it!

However, if you’re more ambitious and awesome than I am and you want to prepare this the morning-of, you can.  Instead of the overnight step, just let the rolls rise in the baking pan for about an hour, then bake as instructed.

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Ingredients for the dough:

4- cups flour (plus 2 tbsp reserved)

1/4- cups white sugar

1/2- tsp salt

1- packet yeast (1/4oz)

6- tbsp butter (melted)

1- tsp vanilla

3- large eggs room temperature

3/4- cup buttermilk

 

Ingredients for filling:

1 stick butter

5 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

 

Ingredients for the frosting

1 stick melted butter

1 1/2- tsp vanilla

Confectioner’s sugar

 

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Start by attaching your beater or paddle attachment to the stand mixer.  In the bowl, combine the four cups flour, sugar, and salt, and give a good mix until ingredients are fully combined.  You can also do this with a whisk.

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Next you want to start activating the yeast.  If you’re using an already active yeast, you can add it right to the dry mixture as the wet ingredients you’ll be adding later will be warm.  If not, add the yeast packet into the warm buttermilk.  I use powdered buttermilk because it keeps longer, and it allows me to add the powder to already warmed water.  If you’re using already prepared buttermilk, microwave it about 45 seconds to a minute, then add the yeast.  Stir until dissolved and let activate.  You’ll know it’s ready when bubbles form at the top and it has that oh-so-awesome yeasty smell.  (FYI, if you’re using powdered buttermilk, just remember it’s one tbsp per quarter cup, so for this recipe it’s three tbsp)

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Microwave the six tablespoons of butter until completely melted, but not boiling.  This usually takes about thirty seconds depending on your microwave.  Set aside, and in a separate bowl, whisk together the room temp eggs.  The temp is important because you need to temper the eggs with the melted butter to keep them from cooking.  The closer the egg temp is to the butter, the easier it is to temper.

Add the vanilla to the butter and mix thoroughly.  Once combined, slowly drizzle the melted butter mixture into the eggs while whisking.  It should thicken but the eggs shouldn’t cook.  If you notice any scrambling (and trust me, it happens) it means you’ve poured too fast and you’ll have to start over.  Once combined, whisk in the buttermilk and stir another few seconds.

With your mixer on low, begin to pour in the liquid.  It should combine and thicken right away.  The dough will become tacky and sticky and might not combine all the way.  This is where you might need to get your hands a little dirty and use your fingers to combine it all.  When the dough is fully combined, turn the mixer off and switch to the dough hooks.  Knead for ten minutes.

Now, if you have the world’s crappiest mixer with the world’s crappiest dough hooks (here’s looking at you, Hamilton Beach thirty dollar stand mixer on amazon), you’ll need to do this part by hand on a smooth, floured surface.  If you’re lazy or like me, you get the joy of employing someone else for this momentous task of kneading for ten straight minutes.  Props and shout-out to my husband for undertaking what I find to be the biggest pain in the butt part of any recipe that requires kneading and rising.

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Look at this handsome fellow with his fancy smile and alien shirt!

 

So, back to the recipe.

As your kneading, pay attention to the texture.  You want it sticky but pliant, and won’t stick to your finger if you pinch it.  If it does, add in the reserved two tbsp flour one tbsp at a time.  When I did these last night, I needed about one tbsp extra.  Once the dough forms a tight, smooth ball (heh heh, smooth ball) place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  At room temp, let the dough rise 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

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Use this time to play games, write a book, or maybe dig into that fanfic you’ve been eyeing.  Play a game of bubble blast (curse you level 53!!!), watch some Buffy.  You know, just go about your business.

When the dough has risen (IT HAS RISENNNNN!) remove from the bowl and lay down on a floured surface or rolling board.  Punch down and knead an additional two minutes by hand.  With your rolling pin, roll your dough out as rectangular as possible (which as you can see by the below picture was about zero much rectangular), and a little under a quarter inch thick.  (My dough was extremely springy last night so I had to go pizza-dough on it and sort of stretch it by hand to get it to a quarter inch).

The butter by this point should be room temp.  Now, this is the fun part.  With clean hands, squash the butter up in your fingers and spread around the dough like you’re giving it a kobe-beef style massage.  You want there to be chunks of it, not melted, but definitely spread around to every edge.  After de-greasing, sprinkle the cinnamon over the top, then the brown sugar, and dig right back in and massage that ooey-gooey concoction until every corner of the dough is covered.

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Stretching out the edge of the dough, begin to roll up tightly, pulling the edges out to the sides as you go to keep them uniform.  Once rolled tightly, cut into one and a half (or one if you want smaller– or two if you want huge) sections.  This dough should make approx. 12 rolls.

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In a glass, greased and floured pan, lay the rolls out with about half an inch between them.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.  (or leave out to rise and bake if this is morning time)

The next morning, drag yourself out of bed and before you start guzzling your coffee, pull the rolls from the fridge and with your oven on warm (meaning like almost no temp, just a gentle, soft, comfortable heat) place the pan in and let the rolls rise in there for about an hour, or until double in size.  You can do this on the counter but if you’re like us and have your AC down to like 70F and you used a glass pan, the warming and rising part will take for-flipping-ever if you don’t use the oven.

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They actually can get bigger than this, but I was impatient.

 

Once the rolls are sized, remove from oven and begin the preheat to 350F

Once the oven is heated, place rolls in the center rack and bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until rolls are to your desired brownness.  I like mine a little more doughy than most.

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When the rolls are done and resting, melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.  Add in the vanilla, and then tablespoon by tablespoon, add in the confectioner’s sugar until the mixture becomes almost dough-like.  I probably used close to half a cup, maybe more.

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While the rolls are still warm-to-hot, spoon large globs of icing on top of each roll and let melt and ooze down the sides.  Then you can either wait until they’re cooled, or you can risk the searing mouth-burns and shovel them down immediately.  Guess which option I chose.

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OMNOMNOMNOMNOM

 

Garnish if you like with another sprinkle of cinnamon and confectioner’s sugar, or enjoy as is.

Remember to follow me on facebook, or on instagram @muchadoughaboutbaking (where you can see updates of my food, kids, dogs, and random pictures of things around town that amuse me.  I’m not very thematic)

 

Note- If you like a sweeter bun, feel free to increase the sugar up to 1/2 cup.  I like my rolls more bread-y because the glaze is so incredibly sweet, but if you want to go full sugar, by all means, go full sugar!

 

 

 

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

I don’t know about you, but those flaky, rich butter cookies were a huge part of my childhood.  Often purchased in one of those big tins around the holidays, my grandma always had a full stock to be enjoyed with a cup of hot, sweet mint tea at the end of the night. 

Some of my fondest memories are sitting on the couch with the coffee table pulled right up to the edge, the tea-tray laid out with mint tea, sugar cubes, a little pot of cream, and the plate of butter cookies.  Some were plain, some chocolate, some with a sprinkle of decorative sugar.  The Hallmark made-for-TV version of The Secret Garden played on VHS (remember adjusting tracking…. yeah…).  I’d be curled up in my favorite soft white blanket trying desperately not to get crumbs everywhere.

Those days are long-gone of course.  We don’t even have a coffee table, and though we do have a tea-tray if I mention anything mint to my children they act like I just tried to offer them rat poison.  And we could watch The Secret Garden, assuming it’s on Netflix (it’s not, I checked.  Thanks Netflix, for refusing to acknowledge my childhood).

I figured I could recapture a little of those memories with a delicious, homemade butter cookie recipe.  It’s not exactly the same, not as perfect as the mass-produced store kind.  My shapes are so amateur I think any proper baker reading this is probably cringing and crying at the sight of them.

But the taste is spot on, and you can’t go wrong with things dipped in chocolate.  You just can’t.  So without further ado, here’s one of the simplest cookie recipes out there.

 cokies7Cookie Ingredients:

1- cup butter- room temp (this temp is very important.  You can mimic room temp butter by microwaving the sticks for about 20 seconds)

1/2- cup white granulated sugar

1- tsp vanilla

1- egg

2 1/4- cups sifted white flour (I use bread flour)

1/4- tsp salt

Dipping Chocolate Ingredients

1- cup chocolate chips

1/4- cup butter

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Start by preheating your oven to 350F, and line a cookie sheet with either non-stick foil or parchment paper.

In your stand mixer with the beater or paddle attachment, add butter and sugar, and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes on medium.  Remember to stop in between and scrape the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula.

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Once combined, reduce speed to slow and add in egg and beat until thoroughly combined.  Scrape down sides, add in vanilla, and mix on medium for another minute or so until batter is creamy.  In a separate bowl, use a whisk to blend flour and salt.  With mixer on low, slowly add flour and beat until the mixture is fully combined.

It’ll be crumbly at first, so make sure you’re scraping the sides and bottoms to make sure it’s combining.  Final mixture should be very doughy and creamy, a lot like a wet chocolate chip cookie dough.  This usually takes about four minutes in the mixer.

When mixture is fully combined, prep your pastry bag with a size 7, pronged tip (depending on your cookie design preference).  I just did some circles and squares, but I’ll be experimenting with other shapes as I go.

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Pipe your cookies directly onto the cookie sheet, leaving about an inch and a half of space between cookies.  If you’re having trouble piping the dough, you can leave it out for twenty minutes to soften.  This will happen if your butter wasn’t at a proper temperature when mixing.

Place directly into the oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, or until bottoms of the cookies are lightly browned.  Keep a close eye though because they can cook a lot faster than expected.  Mine were done in about six minutes.

When finished, remove from tray and place directly onto cooling rack.  Fresh baked, the cookies will be much harder than a traditional drop cookie, so the transfer is pretty easy.  Cool cookie sheet fully before piping your second batch.  (this is important, do not pipe dough onto a hot sheet).

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Once baked cookies have cooled, prepare the dip.  You can do this either on the stove or microwave.  Combine chocolate chips and butter in pot or bowl.  For microwave, set for one minute, then stir.  If chips are not fully melted, continue to microwave every thirty seconds until butter and chips are combined and you can drizzle chocolate from the edge of a spoon.

For the stove, melt either over a double boiler or on low heat until chocolate and butter is melted.  Transfer into a room temp bowl and dip half the cookies into the chocolate, and lay on cooling rack to harden.  (or just eat them melty and messy.  In fact, you probably should you know, just to make sure it’s good. It’s for science…and stuff.)

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Cookies are perfect for dipping in coffee or tea or cocoa, or just you know, hoarking down by the dozen.

Up next:

Vegan chocolate pudding tart with vegan shortbread crust.  Peanut Butter Fudge.  From-Scratch Chicken Tikka Masala.

If there are any recipes you’d like to see on the blog, don’t hesitate to send an email or leave a comment.

Oh and for those of you in the UK, here’s a handy conversion chart for the measurements!

Homemade Tuna Casserole

Who doesn’t love a good casserole, right?  Theoretically they should be easy, and once upon a time I was accustomed to the mushy noodles and flavorless sauces poured over some sort of meat and topped with cheese.  And yeah, those are technically the basics to a casserole.

But years of hamburger helper and boxed casserole, “just mix, pour, bake, done” meals I had as a kid put me off on the whole idea of eating some sort of combined meal in a pan.  Unless it was bacon-topped mac and cheese of course, and then all bets are off.

My husband and kids love a good casserole though.  At first I tried to appease them with things like Shepherd’s Pie and homemade pot pies, but it wasn’t enough.  One of my husband’s favorite meals is tuna-mac.  Literally Kraft mac with tuna and pepper and a handful of shredded cheese.  I can’t stomach it.  However—– I could compromise.  So thus was born my cheesy, melty, delicious homemade tuna casserole.

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Yeahhhh whaaaaaaat!  Look at that sumbitch.  Nom.

The steps are simple enough, even a n00b like me can pull it off.  It’s not a one-stop crock-pot level of easy though, so if you don’t want to deal with the mixing and blending and whisking, this recipe is not for you.

Ingredients:

12 oz bag of Egg Noodles (last night I used the No Yolk brand, but this dish can be made with any noodles.  Next time I’m going for the gluten free rice noodles because they are a huge family fave)

2 1/2- cups sharp cheddar (divided into 1 cup, 1 cup,  1/2 cup)

1- cup colby jack

2- 5 oz cans tuna (your preference.  I used regular packed in oil)

1- can peas (though if you prefer frozen those work too)

3- small sweet peppers or one large red or orange bell (red or orange because you want the sweetness of the peppers)

1- cup chicken broth

2- cups milk (if you’re using milk alternative go with one unsweetened, like unflavored almond or soy)

3- tbsp flour

3 tbsp butter (divided into 1 tbsp and 2 tbsp)

1 tsp salt (or garlic salt as I prefer)

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp oil (I would avoid coconut.  We used grapeseed but any veggie oil will do)

1/2 cup bread crumbs

tuna1Start by preheating your oven to 425F, and starting a pot of water to boil for the noodles. (remember salt is your friend, so don’t hesitate to sprinkle some into the water).  Next, lightly grease your (preferably glass) casserole dish.

In a small bowl, combine the veggie oil, lemon juice, basil, and pinch of pepper and give a quick stir with a fork.  Drain both cans of tuna, then toss together with the lemon/oil mixture and set aside.

Finely chop the sweet peppers/bell pepper and in a frying pan, melt 1 tbsp butter and give the peppers a good saute.  Feel free to sprinkle a little garlic salt (or even add in some garlic if that’s your fancy).

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Guard any leftovers lest the small beasties (read:children) come steal them

Remove the peppers from the heat and let cool for a couple minutes.  Meanwhile start a sauce pan on medium heat and melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter.  With whisk, vigorously stir in 3 tbsp flour and continue to whisk for about one minute– until flour is a nice golden brown.  Reduce heat and add in chicken broth.  Stir until flour is combined.  Add in milk and salt and continue to simmer and whisk until mixture becomes slightly thickened.  This takes anywhere between 5-10 minutes.  It won’t be pudding thick.

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It’s almost a caldo de queso.  Nom nom nom

Once thickened, turn off heat and stir in 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup colby jack.  Mix until melted and combined.  Don’t forget to taste, and if you want it cheesier, add more!  Also remember a pinch of salt can go a long way, so if the mixture tastes bland, try adding another pinch or two and see if that boosts the flavor.

While noodles are finishing their boil, add peppers to tuna mixture, give a good stir, and set aside.

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Cook noodles until almost done.  A little bite to them (al dente) is never a bad thing.  Drain and run cool water over them until the noodles are tepid to the touch.  This stops them from continuing to cook, thus preventing your noodles from going mushy during the baking process.  This step is important if you don’t like mushy noodles.  (And seriously the word mushy is bad enough, right?)

Once tepid, pour the noodles back into the pot.  Add in tuna mixture and desired amount of peas.  (I added about 2/3rds of a can), and give a good stir.

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Finally pour over cheese sauce and mix until fully combined.  Now, when I first made this I thought it looked like too much sauce.  I was afraid my casserole was going to come out all soupy and watery, so I didn’t use all the sauce.  While it was tasty, it was also dry, so lesson learned.  It may look like a lot, but it will continue to thicken and be cheesy and delicious when done.

Once the sauce is stirred in, mix in 1/2 cup sharp cheddar, give a quick stir and pour into your greased casserole dish.

While that’s setting (and this is a good step, let it set at least a minute) take the remaining 1 cup sharp cheddar and in a bowl, lightly toss the cheddar shreds with the bread crumbs.  Once mixed, top the casserole with cheesy-bread mix, and pop into the oven for about 12 minutes.

When done, the crust should be slightly browned.  Pull, set, serve.  It’s probably wise to let it cool for a few minutes but we are savages and start digging in the moment it’s out of the oven.  We have perma-blisters on our tongues.  But seriously, look at this bad boy.  SO worth it.

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So there you have it.  Homemade tuna casserole.  No need for cans of condensed soup, and trust me, it’s way better than anything that comes out of the box.

Note:  Before I forget, someone asked me to do UK conversions, so I will.  I need to look that up because I can’t brain when it comes to conversions or numbers.  So I’ll be getting on that.  At some point.  Bear with me.  ❤  ❤  (Timelord hearts means I love you all a lot.)