Tag Archives: Flour

Cheddar Kale Muffins

image courtesy Howard Walfish

These savory muffins call for a whole head of kale, plus protein-rich cheddar cheese, making them a healthy and filling option for breakfast on the go.  You’re going to have to take my word for it that these muffins look good. I made a batch of them for us to take on vacation to San Diego, and I was in such a hurry to pack them up that I forgot to take a picture!  They were great travel food; not too smelly on the plane, and a big step up from any of the airport snacks.

Cheddar Kale Muffins (yields 12 regular-sized muffins)
1 head kale, washed and dried
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup milk
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 12-muffin pan with paper liners. Chop thick stalks off of kale and slice remaining leaves very finely. In a heavy skillet over medium heat, saute chopped kale in olive oil for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until kale is very tender and starts to look a little dry.  Set cooked kale on paper towels to drain and melt the butter in the skillet.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together milk, melted butter, egg, minced garlic, and cooked kale until the egg is completely beaten. Add flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and cheese.  Stir until just combined; do not over mix.

Fill twelve prepared muffin cups with batter– about 1/4 cup per muffin– and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. The finished muffins will be slightly browned and a toothpick inserted into a muffin should come out clean. Remove the pan from oven and allow muffins to cool completely before eating. The kale flavor in the muffins is very strong while the muffins are hot; it mellows as they cool, resulting in a great breakfast treat.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery, and appears on their blog “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Tangerine Shortbread

In a pinch for a last-minute hostess gift or holiday bake sale offering?  These zesty shortbread cookies come together in less than 40 minutes and have just four ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and the Oasis Gardens tangerines from this week’s local box.

Don’t let the simple ingredients fool you; these Christmas cookies taste fancier than the recipe lets on.  They have the golden color and tender texture of traditional shortbread cookies, but the tangerine zest in the dough gives the finished cookies a fresh flavor. You can use the zest of any citrus fruits you have on hand, though I prefer the mild sweetness of tangerine.

Tangerine Shortbread (makes about 30, 1×3 inch cookies)
2 tablespoons tangerine zest
1 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour

Making these cookies is a cinch.  The first step is to use the fine side of a box grater or microplane to zest the tangerines.  The chef in this video is demonstrating with a lemon, but the zesting process is the same for all citrus:

After you finish zesting the tangerines, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with baking parchment. Next, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the tangerine zest in the food processor. Pulse until the zest and sugar are combined.  If you have a stand mixer, use it to mix the zesty sugar and butter until creamy.  Then add two cups all-purpose flour and mix at low speed until just combined. The dough will be very thick and crumbly.  If you don’t have a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar in the food processor. Then, move the mixture to a separate mixing bowl and work in the flour by hand. (I did this both ways and needed to add about a tablespoon of water along with the flour to hold the dough together when I was working it by hand. The cookies turned out about the same both ways.)

Once dough is combined, pat it or roll it into an even, half-inch thick rectangle. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the dough into whatever shape you like. (N.B. Go for easy shapes like diamonds, rectangles, or squares with this recipe. Since the dough is crumbly, it will not cooperate with foo foo snowflakes or round shapes. You also want to avoid re-rolling it since that will result in tough cookies.)

Gently move the cookies to your cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the bottom edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before eating.  These cookies keep for up to ten days at room temperature in an airtight container, and they freeze well, too.

Click here for the printable version of this recipe.

This post is sponsored by Greenling Organic Delivery, and appears on their blog “Eating Out of the Local Box.”

Spiced Beet Whoopie Pies

These whoopie pies sandwich a layer of fluffy cream cheese frosting between two pillowy mounds of spice cake.  They’re like a cross between a gingersnap, a cupcake, and a cloud from Care-a-Lot*. Perfect for holiday gatherings, or for eating by yourself during a claymation movie marathon.

Pumpkin has become a popular ingredient in holiday whoopie pies, but it makes the cake stickier than I like.  I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart’s and Rachel Ray’s recipes for pumpkin whoopie pies, using beet puree in place of the pumpkin.  The beets give the finished cookies a soft, cake=like texture, and an earthy flavor that’s not too sweet.  The beet flavor in this recipe is complemented by a blend of traditional holiday spices: cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, and nutmeg. (I would have added cloves and ginger if I had them on hand.) Don’t skimp on these spices!  The taste of beets needs a big spicy kick to balance it out.

Spiced Beet Whoopie Pies
(makes 8 large desserts; each serving 2 people or one very hungry elf)
Cookies:
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup beet puree, from 1 large beet or several mini beets (instructions below)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon cardamom
1/2 tablespoon allspice
1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2/3 cups flour
Filling
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk, as needed for texture

First, make beet puree. I used 6, ping pong ball-sized beets to make 3/4 cup puree.  One or two large beets would work, too. Place whole, unpeeled beets in a saucepan and cover with water.  Boil for at least half an hour, until flesh is tender and can be pierced with a fork.  Drain beets and allow to cool. Once beets can be handled safely, remove skin with a paring knife or your fingers and puree cooked beets in a food processor.

Next up, make the cookies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment.  Combine in a food processor 3/4 cup beet puree, 8 tablespoons softened butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Process until mixture is smooth and well combined. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and dried spices. Carefully pour the beet mixture into the mixing bowl, and use a rubber spatula to fold the beet mixture and flour mixture together.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, portion cookie dough into 16 mounds, spaced evenly onto each baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes, until springy to the touch. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream 4 tablespoons softened butter with cream cheese.  Add the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on low until blended and then at medium-high speed until fluffy. Depending on the weather, the frosting may reach the appropriate texture before the full two cups of sugar are mixed in.  If necessary, thin frosting with a little milk.

Spread cream cheese frosting on the flat side of half the cookies; top with remaining cookies.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least an hour and up to three days before serving.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

*Remember Care-a-lot?  I like to think that even Professor Coldheart would get into the holiday spirit if he were served beet whoopie pies at a Festivus party.

Rosemary Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

I’m planning a little series of Christmas cookie posts this month, loosely titled “The 12 Cookies of Christmas.” (For the most part, I have just been calling it that in my head since it’s such a cheesy title. Let’s not call it that out loud, okay?) Each of the twelve recipes will feature locally-sourced ingredients in a holiday-cookie-exchange-ready format.  Get ready for beet whoopie pies, apple spice cookies, meyer lemon bars, and other holiday treats, just waiting to fill your Santa shaped cookie jar.

Rosemary’s sweet, pungent flavor and green needles remind me of Christmas trees, so when I was planning the series, I knew I wanted to kick things off with these crispy lemon rosemary cookies.  The timing couldn’t be better since Meyer lemons are finally in season here in Austin.  This recipe also features eggs from Ringger Farm and cornmeal from Homestead Gristmill, near Waco, Texas.  The course texture of the Homestead’s cornmeal enhances these cookies’ crunch, and I find these cookies to be more flavorful than ones I’ve made with nationally distributed brands of cornmeal.

Rosemary Lemon Cornmeal Cookies (yields 32 cookies)
adapted from “Cornmeal Cookies,” by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley
Cooking Light, May 2008

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary needles
1 tablespoon grated Meyer lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a cookie sheet with silpat or baking parchment. (Don’t skip this. The finished cookies are very delicate and will lose their shape if they stick to the pan after cooking.)

In a small bowl, sift together flour, cornmeal, baking soda, and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, beat softened butter, sugar, rosemary, lemon rind, and lemon juice until creamy, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Add egg and beat until well combined.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until just blended.  Dough will be very soft.

Spoon dough by heaping teaspoons 2.5 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Cookies will spread while cooking, so take care not to put dough too close to the edges of the baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 11 1/2 minutes, until lightly browned and almost firm. Remove from oven and cool on pans for 2 minutes or until firm. Remove firm cookies from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Austin Beer Week: Bootlegger Cupcakes

I was a little skeptical when I first considered cooking with Indy’s Bootlegger Brown Ale because, truthfully, its deep caramel flavors in are too heavy for me to drink.  I DO love Independence Brewing Co.’s use of local art on their labels, however, so I really wanted to feature this brew, with the label design created by Austin muralists Blue Genie Art Industries.

These cupcakes pair dark beer and dark cocoa, creating a rich moist cake without a heavy beer flavor.  In fact, the caramel in the Bootlegger Ale enhances the chocolate. Yum!  For the cake I used Dave Lieberman’s Chocolate Stout Cupcake recipe, originally published on the Food Network Website, substituting Bootlegger Ale for Guinness.  And instead of using Lieberman’s cream-cheese based frosting, I opted for a lighter whipped buttercream recipe I saw on Pioneer Woman a few months ago.  This recipe yields 24 delicious cupcakes, with just enough frosting to cover each one.

Bootlegger Brown Cupcakes with Ale Frosting
Cake batter:
3/4 cup dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bottle Bootlegger Brown Ale, minus 2 tablespoons (reserve for frosting)
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream

Frosting:
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons Bootlegger Brown Ale
1/2 cup sugar (not powdered sugar, just plain white sugar)
1/2 cup butter

Cupcake method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open beer and set aside a few tablespoons for frosting.  Prepare a 24-muffin tin with paper liners or butter and flour.  Sift together cocoa powder, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in beer.  Add eggs one at a time, beating completely after each one.  Whisk in sour cream and vanilla until liquid ingredients are thoroughly combined and smooth.  Pour liquid ingredients into the large mixing bowl with dry ingredients. Stir gently until dry and liquid ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups 3/4 of the way with batter, dividing batter evenly between 24 cups.  Bake in preheated oven for 22 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting method:  Whisk together flour and milk in a small saucepan.  Heat on medium, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes.  Mixture will thicken as it cooks; you’ll know it’s done when it is the same consistency as brownie batter.  Turn off heat and whisk in beer until mixture is smooth.  Allow mixture to come to room temperature before continuing.  I was in a hurry, so I set the whole pan in a few inches of ice water in the sink to speed things up.  It was cool in about 4 minutes.

Using an electric mixer with beater attachments, beat together butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.  Add the cooled flour mixture and beat on medium high for about two minutes, until the frosting has the consistency of whipped cream. Taste a little tiny bit. It will taste so good that you’ll want to eat the whole thing!  Don’t do that.  Instead, spread frosting on cooled cupcakes and enjoy!!

Happy belated birthday, Andy!!!

Mini Rosemary Pesto Rolls

Rami and I are both in horrible moods since Texas lost to UCLA this afternoon.  We’re drowning our sorrows in rosemary, butter, and bread with these mini pesto rolls I created.

This is the recipe I’ve been tinkering with all week in preparation for the potluck at Greenling’s Best of Austin Bash next Thursday.  It meets the main four requirements for any potluck recipe:

  1. It tastes good.
  2. It’s pretty to look at.
  3. The recipe is cheap and makes a lot.
  4. It’s easy to make ahead of time, freeze and reheat.

Plus, since this is a Greenling potluck, the recipe had to use a lot of local ingredients.  These rolls use sweet potatoes from Naegelin Farms, rosemary and parsley from Pure Luck Farm and Dairy, garlic from Green Gate Farms, and Parmesan from Brazos Valley Cheese.  I am really excited to meet up with some of these farmers on Thursday so I can thank them for helping me to create this delicious recipe!

These rolls are time consuming, but worth it.  The sweet potato in the dough makes the bread very moist and tender.  The rosemary pesto, while too strong for most of my pasta recipes, holds up beautifully in the oven.  I think I’ll definitely be making these for Thanksgiving this year– but earlier in the week than the turkey since they’re so labor intensive.

Rosemary Pesto Rolls (makes about 90 mini rolls or 36 full sized rolls)
Roll Dough:
2 sweet potatoes
1 cup potato cooking water, reserved
2 sprigs rosemary
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
5-7 cups all purpose flour
Pesto filling:
1/3 cup rosemary needles
1 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter

Preparation: Wash and chop sweet potatoes.  Boil unpeeled potato chunks with sprigs of rosemary until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pesto filling.  Remove the rosemary needles from the woody stem. 

Combine 1/3 cup rosemary needles with the remainder of the pesto ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are processed into a smooth paste.  Scoop out pesto filling and set aside for later use. (You’ll have just over a cup of pesto.)  Clean out the food processor bowl, we’ll use it in the dough prep!

Now, back to the potatoes.  Once they are tender, remove from heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the rosemary sprigs from the water.  Peel the needles off the woody stem, and mince with a knife.  Put about 1 tbs. of minced rosemary in the food processor bowl.  Remove peel from cooked potatoes and add those to the food processor, too.  Reserve 1 cup of the hot potato water.  Puree the potatoes and rosemary in the food processor.

You should have 1 to 1.5 cups of potato puree.  Add one cup reserved potato water and milk and puree.  The resulting liquid should still be very warm from cooking, about 110 degrees. (Use a thermometer to measure if you’re anal retentive like me.)

Transfer liquid to a large mixing bowl and add yeast and sugar.  Let yeast proof, then add melted butter and beaten egg.  If the liquid is slightly viscous and bubbly, you’re doing it right!

Add about 5 cups of flour to the mixture, stirring constantly. Stir and stir and stir until the dough becomes elastic and begins to pull away from the edges of the bowl.  If it is very humid outside, you may need an additional 1/2 cup or cup of flour for the dough ball to solidify.  Continue stirring until dough loses its sheen and can be removed easily from the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for about 45 minutes, until dough volume is nearly doubled.

Punch down dough and knead on a floured surface with floured hands.  Once dough holds shape reasonably well, use a pastry cutter to divide into four even pieces.

Now the fun begins!  Set aside the extra dough and work with one piece at a time.  On the floured surface, roll dough until it is 1/4 inch thick and 6-7 inches wide and 18-22 inches long.

Spread 1/4 cup pesto filling on the dough with a spatula. Roll up the dough longways, using the pastry scraper to support the dough if necessary to keep from ripping. The tube of dough should be about the size of a broom handle.

Use un-waxed, unflavored dental floss to cut the roll into one-inch sections. Place the rolls about 1/4 inch apart in a buttered glass baking dish. Brush the tops of the rolls with butter.

Repeat this process three more times with the remaining dough and pesto.  I used one 9×13 pan, one pie pan, and two 7×11 pans to hold all the mini rolls.  Once all the rolls are assembled, cover pans with damp towels and place in a warm spot to rise.  Let sit for about an hour, or until rolls have doubled in size.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until rolls are lightly brown.  Eat these right out of the oven, or freeze them for later service. They’re delicious either way!

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Kraft macaroni and cheese, never again!  Thanks to Pioneer Woman, I found a delicious recipe for Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese and decided to puree our Greenling squash this week to make the recipe.  Here’s what I ended up cooking:

(Sorta) Healthier Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

  • 3 cups Small Whole Wheat Pasta (Shells, Elbow Or Piccolini)
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Wheat  Flour
  • ¾ cups Skim Milk
  • ½ cups Butternut Squash Puree
  • 1-1/4 cup Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Whisk flour and melted butter together for 4 minutes; mixture will thicken and resemble glue. (YUM!) Add milk gradually, whisking constantly, until liquid is warmed through and light brown. Next, add the squash puree and whisk until combined, followed by the cheeses.  Remove sauce from heat and continue to whisk until everything is smooth and creamy.  Whisk in seasonings, adding cayenne to taste.  By now the pasta will be done; drain and shake off excess water.  Stir pasta and cheese sauce together in a serving dish. Garnish with paprika.