the baker upstairs: October 2011

10.25.2011

tasty cauliflower soup

Yum


I know what you're thinking... how can cauliflower soup be tasty? I was a little skeptical. And Geoff? He was having a rough day and said he wanted comfort food. When I told him that cauliflower soup was on the docket for the day, his face fell and he started mumbling things like, "Why do we always have to eat healthy food instead of food that tastes good?" However, after a few spoonfuls, he grudgingly said, "You know, for cauliflower soup, it's actually pretty good." And then he ate the whole bowlful and even mopped up the last bits with a biscuit. The soup was creamy and delicious. It tasted pretty similar to potato soup, but with more depth of flavor. The addition of dijon mustard was super tasty. I also liked that the soup was reasonably healthy. I could eat soup for pretty much every meal during the winter, so this one will definitely be added to the rotation.

Cauliflower Soup
Annie's Eats

2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 shallots, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
Kosher or sea salt
1 medium potato, peeled and diced into ¼-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
3½ cups vegetable broth
½ head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish
2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes.  Season with salt, then mix in the potato, garlic and vegetable broth.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, keep covered, and let cook for about 8 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Add the cauliflower and cook about 5-6 minutes more, until the cauliflower is tender.  Stir in the cheese and mustard.

Puree with an immersion blender (or a food processor, vented to allow the steam to escape).  Mix in additional water or broth if the soup is too thick.  Season with additional salt to taste.  Serve warm topped with additional shredded cheese.

baked donuts

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I've been seeing these baked donuts all over Pinterest for a while, but when one of my favorite sites, posted a recipe for them a few days ago, I knew it was time to make some. I made them pretty much exactly the way the recipe suggests. They were a little different than a typical donut, but still very tasty. They ended up being a little more like sweet rolls dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar, but they were still very soft and light and delicious. Yum! We will definitely make these again.

Baked Donuts
Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Doughnuts:
1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Place the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Add the butter. Mix the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt. Beat the dough with the dough hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon and eventually your hands) for 2-3 minutes at medium speed. Adjust the dough texture by adding flour a few tablespoons at a time or more milk. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be very soft and smooth but still slightly sticky – don’t overflour! Knead the dough for a few minutes (again, by mixer or by hand) and then transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about an hour or until it has doubled in size (the exact time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen).

Punch down the dough and roll it out to about 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured counter. Using a doughnut cutter or a 2-3 inch circle cookie cutter, cut out circles in the dough. Carefully transfer the circles to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. Be sure to make the holes large enough that as the doughnuts rise again and bake, they don’t fill in the doughnut hole with the puffiness of the dough. Cover the tray with lightly greased plastic wrap. (At this point, you can refrigerate the doughnuts overnight or proceed with the recipe.) Let the doughnuts rise for about another 45 minutes, until they are puffed and nearly doubled.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Start checking the doughnuts around minute 8. They should still be pale on top, not golden and browned, and just barely baked through.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Dip each one in the melted butter and toss or sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar. Serve immediately.

10.02.2011

fluffernutter chocolate cookies

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I got the recipe for these delicious cookies from my adorable friend Emma. They are incredibly yummy. I thought my picture looked pretty tasty, too, but when I posted them on my wall on Facebook, the first comment I got was: "It looks like string cheese on a cookie with chocolate sauce." Hmm... not quite the look I was going for. They're actually peanut butter cookies topped with marshmallows and a little chocolate ganache. Geoff has been out of town this weekend, and Abby and I made them to celebrate his homecoming today. I sent him a pic of the cookies, and I'm not sure whether he's more excited to see me or them.

Fluffernutter Chocolate Cookies
The Novice Chef

Peanut Butter Cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Regular marshmallows, sliced in half lengthwise

Chocolate Glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make peanut butter cookies:
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter, peanut butter and sugars for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour mixture on low speed. Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Place by rounded spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned (cookies will not spread much at all). Do not overbake.

To make chocolate glaze:
In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.

To assemble the cookies:
As soon as the peanut butter cookies come out of the oven, place 1 marshmallow half on the top of each cookie (you may need to flatten the cookies slightly with a spatula first). Place them back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the marshmallow is melted. Let cool completely. When completely cooled, spoon a small amount of chocolate glaze over the top of each cookie. Glaze will set slightly upon cooling.
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