Grapefruit Brûlée (Broiled Grapefruit)

Chill grapefruit. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut and segment grapefruit. Slice a small piece off of bottom rind so that each half sits flat on baking sheet.

Sprinkle a tablespoon raw sugar or light brown sugar onto cut and segmented grapefruit.

Broil on high for 5 min, and top with whipped cream and sprinkle of cinnamon. 

Enjoy! 

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Easiest Cobbler Ever

Our freezer went out yesterday and I found myself with a 5 lb. bag of quickly thawing blueberries. Nothing could be easier than this old standby recipe for a quick cobbler. For all of us who might have an unexpected guest for dinner, a friend to take a dinner to, or a freezer that doesn’t hold up….keep this recipe handy. It won’t disappoint.

  • 1/2 stick butter

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 16 oz. bag frozen fruit: peaches, blueberries, blackberries, etc.

  • extra sugar for sprinkling

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Put butter in a baking dish, 8×8 is ideal, or rectangle pan will work too. Set in oven to melt. When butter has melted, take pan out of the oven.

Whisk flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in a big bowl. Add milk and whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour batter into pan, then sprinkle fruit over batter. Sprinkle with a little sugar on top, about a tablespoon.

Bake until batter browns and fruit is bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes, less if pan is bigger. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream! 

Whole Wheat Chinese Almond Cookies

Today is Chinese New Year‘s Eve. With no Chinese family members nearby, I’ve not alway been diligent to include traditional Chinese celebrations within our family culture. All Chinese holidays are strongly based on extended family and family tradition…and for me, out here in the Southwest with no local immediate or extended Chinese family, sometimes it’s not been worth the effort, or the trip to the local Asian market on the other end of town. Nevertheless, I did, this year. I took my five oldest boys and we came home with all this. Any guesses as to what we are having for dinner? 

The older my kids get, the more I am valuing the preservation and the passing on of our family’s version of my Chinese heritage. It’s a privilege to speak Mandarin, to have grown up within two cultures, and to know a thing or two about making a mean stirfry. 

Unlike traditional Chinese New Year celebrations, my house has not been cleaned from stem to stern–in fact, I am recovering from two of the most chaotic and messy weeks we’ve had recently around here. I’m not cooking the traditional “lucky” foods, but am opting for the fun experience of hot pot. There will be red envelopes, hot tea, some paper lanterns, and homemade almond cookies. 

Here’s my disclaimer: I’m fully Chinese, but I did not grow up making almond cookies…which is to say, I only ate almond cookies at Chinese restaurants, and most of the time, they were underwhelming at best. However, I love the idea of an almond cookie and I’m strongly motivated to involve my kids in any cooking process. 

And so, I put together the simplest Chinese almond cookie recipe I could muster that doesn’t include almond flour or almond meal and doesn’t require lard.

Why?  Well, mostly because I don’t usually have those ingredients on hand, andkeeping it simple is where I’m at these days. Oh, and I’ve also chosen to make these cookies with whole wheat flour…again, because that’s what I use at home and because I’d like to have at least one redeeming quality to a buttery cookie.

These are not crunchy or yellow. They are slightly chewy and golden brown. I don’t blanch my almonds or sliver them. I keep it simple, folks. And, lastly…this might be one of my favorite cookies to make with the littlest littles.

Because, after all, they are the reason I’m making the effort to celebrate the Year of the Horse.

Whole Wheat Chinese Almond Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup, or about 36 raw almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg and almond extract. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, and add dry ingredients to the creamed ingredients.
  3. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a measuring cup. Gently press one almond into the center of each cookie.
  4. Beat the other egg in a small bowl, and brush over entire tops of cookies. Bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes or until edges and bottoms are golden brown. Makes about 3 dozen.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I almost wore boots today, and it’s barely September. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and I do everything I can to encourage its arrival. I had a school meeting of a few moms at the house last night, and being unprepared with a sweet treat of any kind to serve, I went digging around my pantry and found a can of pumpkin puree.


Ingredients

For filling:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For cookies:

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking pwder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, oil, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Drop 1 1/2 inch rounded spoonfuls unto the parchment-lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.
  7. Beat together (with a paddle attachment on a mixer) cream cheese and butter. Add in powdered sugar, and beat until smooth. Add in vanilla and blend well.
  8. When cookies are cooled, sandwich about 1 heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling between two (comparable sized) cookies. Slightly press and adjust so that the filling is even and to the edge of the whoopie pie.
  9. Refrigerate before serving if you’d like the filling to firm up a bit, or serve as is, ooey and gooey. 🙂 Enjoy!

photo (22)

And in my usual fashion, I hunted around for the perfect recipe and ended up pulling and combining several, and tweaked here and there to make it to my liking. You’ll see that I used white whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour. I also don’t care for shortening-based fillings, so I went with cream cheese. Enjoy…and may Fall come quickly…

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

Dutch Baby Birthday Breakfast

The Preacher celebrated 39 years earlier this month. We started his morning off with a breakfast he says he’ll never forget: Dutch baby with bacon maple syrup and cheesy eggs with roasted green chile! A dutch baby is sometimes called a german pancake. It’s crisp on the edges and crepe-like on the inside. It’s so simple to make…but tastes at least twice the effort. The boys have decided that every Saturday morning should be a birthday breakfast. 🙂

dutch baby

Dutch Baby with Bacon Maple Syrup(adapted from a recipe found in a recent William Sonoma catalogue)

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 4 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 cup maple syrup

Put a 10 or 11″ stainless steel (or any ovenproof saute pan) in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 475F.

Make whipped cream by whisking together cream and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Beat until soft peaks are formed. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a blender, combine eggs, flour, milk and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until frothy. When oven is to temperature, put butter into hot skillet. Return skillet to the oven until butter melts and is brown (2-3 minutes.) Carefully pour batter into hot skillet and bake until dutch baby is risen and browned on sides (about 18 minutes.)

Making bacon syrup

While dutch baby is baking, fry up diced bacon until crisp and browned. Combine drained bacon pieces with maple syrup in a small saucepan. Simmer lightly for a minute. Keep warm until ready to use.

Remove skillet from oven and let cool slightly. Cut dutch baby into wedges and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with bacon maple syrup and whipped cream.

Dutch baby with bacon syrup

Homemade Granola Bars

homemade granola bars

I’ve always wanted to make homemade granola bars…and I finally did. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to store-bought. There are so many variations, but this is what we came up with for our family. I loved using the coconut oil, but you can also substitute with canola. The result was chewy, healthy, delicious granola bars the entire family loved! Let me know if you try them!

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  • 4 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 2 T. wheat bran
  • 2 T. flax meal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

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Mix until everything is moistened and fully incorporated. Press into a parchment lined 9×9 square baking pan. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, or until top is lightly golden brown.

homemade granola bars

Let cool completely. (as in several hours or overnight!)

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When completely cooled, turn pan over onto a cutting board, remove parchment, and carefully cut into 1×2 in” bars. I got 24 bars from this recipe.

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If desired, wrap individual bars in wax paper, seal with a sticker or tape, and store in a airtight container.

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