Happy Summer and Holiday Weekend!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Farmers Market Summer Fruits

It's that lovely time of year... when the stone fruit comes back into my life.

Summer.

Awesome.

Just got these from the Farmer's Market. Couldn't be happier with life than right now.

Wishing you and yours have a grand holiday weekend!

- mary the food librarian

P.S. If you are looking for something fun to make this holiday, my friend JustJenn has these cool shave ice cupcakes. She made them back in 2010 and they now appear in the current issue of Food Network magazine!
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins - Nosh with Me recipe

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BananaCCMuffin
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Last night, I opened the refrig and saw two very sad bananas. I tweeted...Anyone have a Banana muffin recipe? Luckily, friends Hilary and JustJenn came to the rescue. I'm going to make JustJenn's recipe next time (looks very yummy - love crumb toppings!), and whipped up a batch of Hilary's mom's recipe this morning.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Banana and Chocolate are best friends, no? I love chocolate covered frozen bananas...oh, I'll to get one of those this summer!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
I think this is a first! I woke up, make the muffins, photographed it, blogged, and am now heading to work. AND it is 6:00 am! Yes, I'll be going to bed early tonight! :)

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Recipe:
Go to Hilary's Blog, "Nosh with Me" for the recipe. You can make a loaf of bread or muffins.
Notes: I used 1 stick of butter (not shortening), added 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and placed a couple chocolate chips on the muffins. I baked mine at 350 degrees convection oven for about 30 minutes.
Recipe: Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
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Meyer Lemon Bars

Friday, May 18, 2012

Meyer Lemon Bars
Meyer Lemon Bars

My folks have a Meyer Lemon tree in the backyard. Thus, lemons galore! When life gives you lemons, you need to make some lemon bars!

I adapted a recipe from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. Oh, by the way, the FTC says I'm supposed to disclose that the link to Alice's cookbook goes to Amazon. I'm in the Amazon Affiliate program where I get a few cents if you click through this link and buy stuff on Amazon (don't worry, I never know who buys what so you can add that Fifty Shades of Grey to your cart too). Anyway, I have to tell you this with all the links now! Oy vey. And what do I do with those few cents? I plow them back into Amazon buying cookbooks...so the cycle of Amazon is complete.

Meyer Lemon Bars
I really like the crust. It'll be my go-to lemon bar crust from now on. It uses melted butter and is super easy to assemble. The "blob" (yes, I think that is a baking term) of dough gets pressed into the bottom of the pan. Because it is "wet", you can get a really smooth surface. I used an off-set spatula to spread and smooth out the crust. The crust is on the thinner side...if you like a big, hardy crust, then this one may not be for you.

Lemon Week 2011
Here's a photo of my mom and dad last year holding their Meyer Lemons!

Meyer Lemon Bars
I increased the amount of lemon juice from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup. I like a big, thick layer of lemon on my lemon bars!

Meyer Lemon Bars

Meyer Lemon Bars
My yield was 25 bars (cut 5 x 5)
Adapted from by Alice Medrich's "Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0" (page 182) of her book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies


Crust:
7 Tbsp unsalted Butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
¾ tsp  vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (4.5 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour

Topping:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (I used 7 ounces of sugar because Meyer lemons are milder than regular lemons. Alice suggest using 4.375 ounces but I missed that note in her recipe!)
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (I didn't measure my zest...used zest from two Meyer lemons)
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, strained (Alice Medrich's recipe calls for 1/2 cup juice, but I just kept squeezing my juicy Meyer lemons and just threw all the juice into the bowl!)

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with foil or parchment (create a sling for easy removal).

Crust: In a bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Spread the dough evenly in the bottom of the pan (I used a small offset spatula). Bake 25-30 minutes until fully baked and golden brown.

Topping: While the crust is baking, stir together sugar and zest until damp. This will release the lemon oils. Stir in the flour. Whisk in the eggs. Add lemon juice and zest and stir until combined.

When the crust is baked, turn the oven temperature down to 300 degrees. Slide the rack out and pour the filling over the hot crust. Baked for an additional 20-25 minutes until center no longer jiggles. Let cool completely in pan before slicing. (I tightly wrapped and refrigerated my bars overnight)

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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Hellllllo! Been gone for a bit...how have you been? I went to Orlando for a library conference...it was very hot so I was happy to head back to the cool breezes of Los Angeles.

Last week, my co-worker mentioned a craving for cranberries. I said I was craving pumpkin and other fall spices. Hence, Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins!

I adapted Dorie Greenspan's delicious Pumpkin Muffin recipe. I skipped the raisins and sunflower seed topping, and added cranberries and walnuts. I also topped it with some raw sugar.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Muffins are always a welcome start to a day! I hope you make some soon... nothing like putting in a little fall in the middle of summer.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
I use a ice cream scoop to dish out my muffin batter. This recipe made 14 muffins. If I have a couple extras, I put a cupcake liner in a ramekin and pop them on a half-sheet tray along with the cupcake tray.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
This muffin is super moist and just really yummy. I'm glad I added the cranberries - a nice touch of tart with the mellow pumpkin.

Since it's summer, I'm making fall...pumpkin cranberry muffins
From my Instagram account. Are you on Instagram? Oh, I love it! They recently made it available to us Android users. I'm "foodlibrarian" and the photos are 80% food, 19% dogs, and 1% Los Angeles.

Recipe:
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Pumpkin Muffin (Baking from My Home to Yours)


2 cups flour (I used 280 grams)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp groung ginger
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
1/2 cup brown sugar (100 grams)
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla (Dorie uses 1/2 tsp)
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw), cut in half
Raw sugar, for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Dorie's recipe is 400 degrees but I tried that and my muffins burned) Prep a 12-cup muffin tin. This recipe makes 12-14 muffins.
2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmet. Set aside.
3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating one minute after each addition.
5. Beat in vanilla, pumpkin puree and buttermilk. Don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled at this point.
6. On low speed, add the flour mixture a little at a time. Don't overmix - better to undermix and finish it by hand.
7. With a spatula, fold in walnuts and cranberries.
8. Dish out into muffin tins and top with raw sugar.
9. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until done.
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Chocolate Chip Toffee Scones

Thursday, May 3, 2012

CoffeeToffeeScones_a
Chocolate Chip Toffee Scones

I love scones! Soooo easy to make. I often make them in the morning and take a shower while they are in the oven!

Um, these were really good and very sweet (much sweeter than a regular scone). The topping of Heath Toffee Bits melts a bit so it can be a little sticky...but not in the gross 10-napkin sticky, but the "oh, I guess I just need to lick my fingers a bit after eating a yummy scone" kind of sticky.

And, before you ask, that beautiful cake stand is by Whitney Smith of Oakland, CA. Isn't it stunning? My friend Sumi got me the cupcake stand (see here) and my co-workers gave me the cake stand! I treasure them immensely.

Chocolate Toffee Scones
This scone has both mini chocolate chips and Heath English Toffee Bits. I don't use the Toffee Bits enough...need to incorporate them into more foods in the future.

Chocolate Toffee Scones
I almost always make square scones...because I'm lazy! I'm too lazy to pull out a circle cutter and cut rounds, then re-roll the remaining dough. With square scones, you can use a bench scraper to make the cuts and be done with it all! Easy peasy!

You mix all the chocolate chips and some of the toffee bits into the dough. After cutting the squares, additional toffee bits are pressed into the dough.

Chocolate Toffee Scones
It is easy to make and freeze these scones too. The cookbook says you can wrap the unbaked scones in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours as well. You should enjoy them the day they are made...not a problem in my library! :)

Recipe:
Chocolate Toffee Scones
From the Art & Soul of Baking (page 154)
Find it on Amazon or in your library

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup (3½ ounces) mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup (2½ ounces) plus 1/3 cup (1¾ ounces) toffee baking bits
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. (The book has instructions for making it in a food processor, but I like to make my scones by hand...less clean-up).
3. Cut the cold butter pieces into the flour mixture until it resembled course sand.
4. Add the mini chocolate chips and the 1/2 cup toffee baking bits.
5. In the small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
6. Pour the egg mixture mix until the dough holds together in large, thick clumps. (I used my hands a bit to quickly mix it together).
7. Use a spatula to scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently squeeze or knead the clumps together until they form a cohesive dough—it may seem a bit dry at first, but will come together with a few kneads.
8. Pat the dough into a circle or square about 1 inch thick. Cut into wedges or squares and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe yields 8 wedges (I cut mine into 16 small squares).
9. Lightly press the remaining 1/3 cup toffee chips onto the tops of the scones, dividing evenly. Bake for 14 to 17 minutes, until golden brown, especially around the bottom edges. Transfer to a rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

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