Snack

Caramel Corn

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 8.12.09 AMThis recipe is another gem we found on the Centr app. The first time I read the ingredients I was very interested/perplexed to see how maple syrup, peanut butter and coconut milk would taste like caramel but it really does. This snack is incredibly addicting; I suggest making multiple batches at a time. (But make this exact recipe multiple times, for some reason when I’ve tried to double it it hasn’t turned out as well.)

  • 3 ounces (1/3 cup) popping corn
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk, canned

Preheat the oven to 250 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pop your corn kernels, either in a stock pot on the stove or in something like this super cool microwave container (I bought this after burning a couple of batches on the stove and it is so awesome). Put your popped corn in a large bowl and set aside. Heat peanut butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until just beginning to boil. Stir through coconut milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes until golden and thickened. Pour caramel over popcorn and toss well to coat. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing the batch to cook it evenly after 15 minutes. Serve once cooled.

This stuff does not last long in my house, maybe a couple of days so store in an airtight container.

Entree, Soup

Chicken Enchilada Soup a la Chili’s

chilis-chicken-enchilada-soup-horizontal-1526596329Growing up my friends and I went to Chili’s at least once a week and I would either get Chicken Crispers or Chicken Enchilada Soup and salad.  We haven’t been able to go to Chili’s for a while so I got the on the good ole Interwebs to see what I could find. I found this copycat recipe at delish.com and with a few additions it was a dead ringer for my favorite soup. The recipe makes a ton, so be prepared to make it for a crowd or freeze half.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1 cup enchilada sauce
  • 16 oz Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups shredded chicken (I used rotisserie)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

     

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack, for garnish
  • tortilla strips, for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes, then add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 5 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups chicken broth, masa harina and spices until smooth. Add to pot, whisking constantly until no lumps remain. Add enchilada sauce and Velveeta and cook, stirring often, until melted. Stir in chicken. Garnish with cheeses and tortilla strips before serving.

Bread, Breakfast, Dessert

Kolaches!

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200426113858822_COVERMy husband’s family is Czech and as such he has a huge love of kolaches. We’re talking the fruit-filled pastries, not the savory roll with sausage inside. Since I’ve been having success with my baking experiments this month I found a recipe and tried making them from scratch. They were delicious! I was so so pleased with how they turned out and start to finish they only took about two hours.

For the Dough:

  • 2/3 cup milk (2% or higher is best)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, or instant
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • thick fruit preserve of your choice, I had strawberry

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted

Warm the milk in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds until lukewarm. The target temperature is 110 degrees. Once it’s at precisely 110, add the yeast, sugar and 2/3 cup of the flour. Mix together well and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (Because I used instant yeast I mixed this together while I got the rest of the ingredients together, but didn’t wait for it to double.) In another bowl, add the melted butter. Let cool briefly before stirring in the egg yolk. Add this to the yeast mixture and mix well. Add the remaining flour, salt, and mix very well well. Next, knead the dough for 10 minutes, making sure to lightly flour the board and your hands as you go. At the end of 10 minutes, the dough will be soft, supple, and not sticky at all. Grease a bowl with cooking spray and add the dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. (At the end of this rise, you could cover it and put it in the fridge to use the following day. It will deflate, but it’s okay).

Next, you want to evenly divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I do this by weighing the dough, and dividing it by 12. Roll each dough ball into a perfect circle (see photo). Line a 9″ pie plate with parchment paper, and arrange the dough balls in it. At this point, I press gently on the dough to make a slightly oblong shape instead of a perfect circle. Let the dough rise until doubled in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough balls have doubled in size, use your fingers to make deep indentations for the fillings. Divide the fillings between the kolaches, I did 4 cream cheese, 4 strawberry and 4 strawberry cream cheese, but do what makes you happy.

Bake the kolaches for 18-21 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Use a toothpick inserted into the center kolache to ensure the rolls are done. Let cool slightly, and then tear apart and serve.

Bars, Dessert

Lemon Bars

40d0a04679d843fff0c4fa959807feadI had a friend request these lemon bars because they remind him of his mother’s recipe. They come together very quickly and are the perfect addition to a potluck or spring get together.

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the Filling:

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • powdered sugar for dusting

In a bowl, combine the flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar. Pat into an ungreased (I prefer parchment-lined) 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. For the filling, beat eggs in a small bowl. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and zest; beat until frothy. Pour over the crust. Bake 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into bars.

Bread, Breakfast

Blueberry Bagels

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200424091834663_COVERThe saying practice makes perfect has really been on my mind the past month of being stuck in the house. I was always very intimidated by working with yeast because I felt it was finicky and took too long and I was never prepared for how early I had to prep. That is something I’ve been trying to remedy now that I have quite a bit of time on my hands. A couple of things have really helped me get more comfortable, the first being instant yeast. The fact that I can just add the yeast to the dry ingredients takes away that extra bit of chance I feel like yeast baking comes inherent with. Also, you can keep the yeast in the freezer to ensure that it stays fresh for up to a year at least! The second is really reading the recipe and making sure I have plenty of time to complete all the steps. When you see the steps for this recipe it is going to look very intimidating but it’s really more a case of it taking a lot words to describe a very easy process. So, if you are feeling a little apprehensive about making this recipe, don’t. Just take your time and don’t over-think it.

For the Sponge:

  •  1 teaspoon instant yeast
  •  4 (18 oz) cups high-gluten or bread flour
  •  2 1/2 cups water, at room temperature

For the Dough:

  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 3 3/4 cups (17 oz) high-gluten or bread flour*
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons malt powder (or brown sugar if you don’t have malt powder)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried blueberries*

To Finish:

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • cornmeal for dusting

To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients form a ball, slowly working in the remaining ¾ cup flour to stiffen the dough. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). Add the dried blueberries during the final 2 minutes of kneading. The dough should be firm, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all the ingredients should be hydrated. If the dough seems too dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky. Immediately divide the dough into 12 pieces. Form the pieces into rolls. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper and mist lightly with spray oil. To shape the bagels, poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2½ inches in diameter. The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots). Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans. Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float, return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500 degrees . Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda. Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minute flip them over and boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side. While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.) When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown (My bagels cooked for 8 minutes at 450). You may bake them darker if you prefer. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

*Your flour measurement could vary depending on many factors, I only used 3 cups to get my dough to the consistency I wanted. I also only used 1 cup of blueberries so really just use your judgement and personal taste to decide how much to add.

Cookies, Dessert

Crispy Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

download (2)This recipe comes from the Cookies and Cups cookbook and was really delicious. I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate chips in my cookies because I feel like it makes them overly sweet, but this recipe struck just the right balance.

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and both sugars on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, salt and baking soda and continue mixing until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Turn the speed to low and add the flour, mixing until incorporated. Beat in the coconut, then mix in the oats and white chocolate chips until evenly combined. Using a large (3 tablespoon) cookie scoop, drop the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the centers have set. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Breakfast, How To

How To: Homemade Jiffy Cornbread Mix

download (1)I recently made a recipe that called for Jiffy cornbread mix but I didn’t have any on hand. Enter the Internet! This recipe is very easy to make and likely uses ingredients you already have in your pantry. Try it in Creamed Corn Spoonbread today!

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine the first five ingredients until well incorporated. Whisk in the vegetable oil until no lumps remain. Add this into your recipe that is calling for the box mix.

If you want to just make the muffins themselves, combine the dry mixture with 1 egg and 1/3 cup of milk. Mix until just incorporated and fill well-greased muffin tins about 1/2 full. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.