Friday, February 26, 2010

Hot Chocolate for a Snowy Day

After a long walk my dh and I came home to this:

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

A truly special recipe from an old friend, this Sour Cream Coffee Cake has been a standard in my kitchen for over 35 years.  I have made many hundreds of them.  Today I tried to make it by cutting down on the sugar.  It was quite delicious.  Here is the recipe:

2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
1/2 pint sour cream
1 very ripe banana, mashed
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup of whole wheat flour
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add vanilla and sour cream.  Then add the whole wheat flour.   Add the AP flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Prepare a 13 inch rectangular baking pan with butter.  Pour half the batter into the pan and spread out.  With a teaspoon, sprinkle half the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top.  Add the remaining batter and smooth over.   Cover the top with the remaining sugar/cinnamon and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 20 minutes before cutting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Creamed Cod recipe

This recipe was handed down to me by my mother.  We believe that it came from our Norwegian ancestors.

Creamed Cod:
serves 2

1 lb. fresh cod
1 cup milk
1 bay leaf
Pinch nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour

White wine or fish stock (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer cod in milk and bayleaf for 10 minutes.  Let cool slightly.  Remove cod from milk and break into bite sized pieces.  Set aside.  In another pan, melt butter and add flour.  Cook for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add milk.  Simmer until thickened.  If it becomes too thick, you could add fish stock or even white wine to dilute. Return cod to sauce.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Serve with mashed potatoes and peas.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Toasted coconut date nut bread perfect after winter sledding

I'm finding out that you really don't need sugar to sweeten a tea bread if you use really ripe bananas.  Today I made a coconut date nut bread with the recipe from Williams Sonoma sprinkled sweetened coconut on top.  No refined sugar (other than the coconut) was used.  It was delicious.  Try it when you're cutting down on sugar. You'll be pleasantly surprised I think.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Grown Ups Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Bread

Grown Ups Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Bread

Williams Sonoma has a wonderful recipe for banana bread

I adapted it for my family as we like to add whole wheat goodness and subtract sugar where we can.  I've found that if you have VERY RIPE bananas (I put older ones in my freezer and they sweeten up nicely) you don't need to add sugar to the recipe.  I will sprinkle a little white or brown sugar, sometimes with cinnamon, sometimes not, to the bottom of the bread pan and this will satisfy my need for a little sugar taste if I fell like it.  But as for the batter you don't need the sugar in this recipe.  What you should do when using freshly ground whole wheat flour (which is wheat berries run through a mill - I use my mill attachment on my Kitchenaid) is to add the wet ingredients to the whole wheat flour for a bit of a soak - 15 minutes is fine.  Then it mixes up better IMO. 

Here's the recipe with my adaptations:


1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 medium very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Rum glaze:
1/4 cup rum (or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract and 1/4 cup water if non-alcoholic is preferred)
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar


Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch metal loaf pan with butter.  If using walnuts, toast in a dry pan and let cool.

In a bowl soak the whole wheat flour in the buttermilk.  Then, with a wooden spoon, stir together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, smash the bananas with a fork. Add the oil, eggs and vanilla and beat with the wooden spoon until well blended.

Add the flour mixtures to the banana mixture and stir just until blended.  Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with the wooden spoon. Put the pan in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it, about 45 minutes.
Using oven mitts, remove the pan from the oven, set it on a wire cooling rack and let cool for 20 minutes.
Gently run a table knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen the bread from the sides.

Using oven mitts, turn the pan on its side and slip the loaf out onto the wire rack. Let the loaf cool for 15 minutes before serving. Brush warm glaze over the top.  Makes 1 loaf.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins
Yield 6 muffins

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
21/2  teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter (melted and cooled)
1 cup buttermilk (heated to about 90 degrees F)
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins

cornmeal for sprinkling

In a bowl, add warmed buttermilk, butter, sugar, cinnamon, raisins and dry yeast. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon until well incorporated and a ball of dough is formed. You can add up to 1/4 cup additioal flour, but you want a sticky dough.

Scrape dough out onto a floured board or surface, sprinkle with flour, and knead once or twice.  The more you knead, the finer the "crumb" will be.  Drop dough into a greased bowl, turn over, cover with tea towel  and let rise in a warm area (I put it in my microwave and leave the door slightly open for at least one hour.  The light in the microwave keeps the temperature warm.  DO NOT TURN ON THE MICROWAVE WITH THE DOUGH IN IT.)

After it rises, carefully scrape it out onto a floured surface but do NOT punch it down. Knead once or twice and shape it into rectangle about one inch thick.

Flour a biscuit cutter, or a knife, cut out dough into 4 inch rounds.  Shape into oval, flat rounds.  Set aside.

Sprinkle cornmeal over a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cut and shaped ovals of dough onto the cornmeal. Dust the tops liberally with cornmeal also. Top with waxed paper that has been sprayed with vegetable oil, and let rise for another hour.

Heat a dry griddle or skillet to medium heat and carefully place a few dough rounds onto the skillet.  Do not crowd.  Brown on each side, about 5 - 9 minutes per side. Do not let burn.  You want golden muffns. 
Remove and let cool for at least 20 minutes.  Open with a fork and enjoy with your favorite topping.  Butter, jelly, etc.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water (about 90 degrees)
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cornstarch (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mix together the first three ingredients and set aside.  Measure the next four ingredients and mix with a whisk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, add the oil and mix in a mixer for about 2 minutes.  Swap out the beater blade for the dough hook (or hand knead) the dough for about five minutes by machine or 8 minutes by hand.  It should be smooth and elastic.  Remove from the bowl and place on a floured counter. 

Spray a 15" pizza pan with oil and sprinkle with cornstarch,  Stretch dough to fill the pan and flute the edges.  Bake the dough for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and add toppings.  Bake for 15 more minutes or until cheese (if using) melts.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Makes about 10 medium pancakes

1 c buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 very ripe banana, mashed
1 t baking soda
2 T butter, melted
1 c flour
1/4 c whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground nutmeg
I/2 c canned pumpkin.

Mix dry ingredients until combined.  In a separate bowl, stir together the butermilk, egg and baking soda with a wooden spoon until well combined.  Add wet to dry and incorporate pumpkin.  Mix lightly.  It's good if there are a few lumps. Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes. Heat a griddle to medium heat and drop about 1/4 of batter for each pancake. Flip once and serve with butter and syrup.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Irish Soda Bread with Mardi Gras Sprinkles

Irish Soda Bread or ISB as we call it in our house is a traditional Celtic bread made with buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and raisins.  This one was sprinkled with crystal sugar in (mostly) Mardi Gras colors.  

Here is the recipe:

4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup unsalted butter (melted and cooled.)  If using salted butter, omit salt.
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raisins or currants or cranberry or a combination of what you like
1 tablespoon caraway seed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Whisk the first four ingredients together and set aside.  Measure the buttermilk in a cup, add the egg and baking soda.  Whisk together.  Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined.  Add fruit and caraway seed if desired.  Again mix until combined but do not overmix.  Turn out onto a baking sheet and make an "X" into the top of the loaf, but don't cut too deeply.  Bake for about 1 hour.  Remove from oven, let cool and enjoy with butter.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wedding Sampler

Someone asked me for a picture of the embroidery that I did for my wedding.

 I finally got around to taking the picture and thought that I'd post it as well. 

 Hope you enjoy seeing it as much as I enjoyed making it!