Sunday, December 5, 2010

Right Around the Corner...

I know that has been MIA for a while. Combination of school, thesis, graduation, job hunting, and apartment searching have kept me pretty busy. But never fear because Christmas is upon us and the Hejma cookies factory will be up and running. So look forward to many delicious Christmas cookies to come your way.

Until then, peace, love, and baking!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rustic Apple Galette

It was such a beautiful weekend here and even a cold wasn't going to stop me from enjoying this beautiful weekend. Saturday I was at least feeling a little well enough to take a trip to go apple picking!

The type of apples that we picked were called "Melrose." I had never heard of them before, but they were a delicious snacking apple. Hopefully they would bake as good as they tasted. I did a little research on them, and according to (catchy name) the Melrose apple is the official Ohio state apple!

I have always wanted to try and make a galette. It's sort of like a rustic, free-form pie. The one hurdle was that you have to make your own pie crust. However, I think I tackled that huddle pretty well.



I was over at my parents when I made this so we all got to enjoy this fall treat. We topped it off with a scoop of ice cream. Warm apples and cool vanilla ice cream. Love fall.

Rustic Apple Galette

1 1/2 cup AP flour
1/3 cup butter
1 tbsp shortening
3-4 tbsp ice water

5 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3 tbsp sugar
juice from 1 lemon
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger

Optional Ingredients
turbinado sugar

1. In a large bowl, add the flour. Working quickly so the butter stays cold, cut the butter into a small dice and add to the flour along with the shortening. Using either a fork or a pastry cutter, cut the butter and shortening into the flour until it resembles course sand.
2. Add the water, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the dough just comes together. Use more water if necessary.
3. Form dough into a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
4. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. For the filling, mix all ingredients (apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger) in a large bowl until apples are evenly coated with other ingredients.
6. Roll dough into a free-form circle until it is 1/4 inch thick. Place dough circle on baking tray of choice, such as a cookie sheet. (I used a round baking stone)
7. Pour filling into center of dough circle and roll the edges of the dough over the filling about 1 inch, to form a crust.
8. (optional) Push crust with milk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
9. Bake for 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pumpkin Nutella Bread

It's that time of the year again for...


Fall is probably my favorite season and one of those reasons is because of all the delicious pumpkin treats there are to make. Luckily this year we won't be experiencing a pumpkin shortage like last year. And what a better thing to combine pumpkin with than...


And of course I love a good quick bread so when I saw this recipe I knew that was going to be next on my list for baking. I changed the original up a little bit, using my beloved combo of AP and whole wheat flour for the dry ingredients and adding apple sauce to keep the bread moist. The hardest part was trying to eat all of the Nutella out of the jar. Just the smell of the hazelnuts and chocolate wafting from the container...I couldn't resist a few swipes with my finger.

Not very appetizing...yet.

I love the swirl pattern the Nutella makes on top of the bread. Reminds me of cheesecake brownies.

That's better...looking delicious.

Even better.

Definitely delicious hot out of the oven. I probably should have cooked it a little longer, the bottom was a little gummy but none the less warm, gooey, and completely reminded me how much I love this time of year.
Pumpkin Nutella Bread
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

2/3 cup AP flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup water
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. Nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8X4 loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: sugar, apple sauce, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients to wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.
5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, making sure the batter in spread evenly. Drop teaspoon sized amounts of Nutella over top of batter. Swirl Nutella into the batter with a knife.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes before turning the bread out of the pan to completely cool.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Moo-less Chocolate Pie

I want to start off this post by admitting that I had kind of a baking fail in preparation for this recipe. I was planning on making this chocolate pie, but I thought it would be cute to make little individual pies using a muffin tin to create mini graham cracker crusts. Everything was going well until I took the crusts out of my muffin tin and found that the lining of my muffin tin had come out on my crusts. Boo. Poor little inedible pie crusts. And now I have to buy a new muffin tin.

I had already purchased my ingredients for this recipe and was really in the mood to make it. So, I had to break down and purchase a pre-made crust.

Elves to the rescue!

Now that I had my crust situation figured out, I could start making my "moo-less" (as Alton Brown calls it) chocolate pie. I wanted to try this recipe because I don't drink milk products (I think I'm lactose intolerant) and wanted to see what baking with tofu would be like since I eat so much of it, ah the life of a vegetarian.

Why is it "moo-less" you ask? Well for starters, it uses tofu instead of milk or egg to thicken it. And two, instead of using semi-sweet chocolate chips that contain milk products, I used carob chips. For those of you that don't know what carob chips are, here is your Wiki definition:
Carob is an evergreen plant native to the Mediterranean region, but it now grows in other locations, like California, as well. The names comes from the Arabic term for "pod," due to the plant's flat and brown pods. The beans insides the pod are dried, roasted and ground to produce carob powder.

Carob chips are an edible product, similar to chocolate chips, made from carob. They are used in baking and in trail mixes, often serving as a substitute for chocolate chips. The color is the same as that of dark chocolate, although the taste is markedly different, with slightly nutty and bitter overtones. Carob chips are a safe chocolate alternative to use in treats and baked goods for dogs.
I know I didn't bake anything in this recipe, but I still figured I could use this pie for the blog. It was sort of baking, well I did bake, but it backfired on me. The process for making this pie was fairly easy. Melt chocolate and then blend.

Then poor into pie crust.

I would suggest making sure you drain the tofu really well. Otherwise it will get runny and now pudding like. I haven't gotten to taste it yet because it needs to set for 2 hours. But look for an update on the taste. However, I did lick the inside of the blender jar and it was delicious! Rich, chocolaty, with just a hit of my favorite ingredient...Kahlua!

Now all I need is some ice, vodka, and soy milk and we can have Sarah-style white Russians!
Moo-Less (Dairy-free) Chocolate Pie

2 cups semi sweetened carob chips (aka vegan chocolate chips)
1/3 cup Kahlua
1 block silken tofu
1 tsp. vanilla
1 prepared chocolate cookie crust

1. Drain tofu thoroughly. Place tofu between 2 layers of paper towels and press down gently. Repeat if necessary.
2. Create a double boiler by placing a small saucepan with 2 inches of water in it over a low flame until simmering. Place a metal or glass bowl over top of saucepan, making sure bottom of bowl does not touch the water.
3. Melt carob chops and Kahlua in double boiler. Stir in vanilla once carob is melted. Take off of the heat.
4. In a blender, combine carob mixture and tofu. Blend until creamy and consistent color (should be a light chocolate brown).
5. Pour filling into prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before enjoying.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lavender Teacakes

There is a great farmers' market on Sundays near where I live. A few weeks ago, I went and found something that I have been wanting to test baking with.


I was gone on a roadtrip to visit friends in North Carolina so I didn't get to bake last week. I was determined this week to find something to bake with my lavender. I scoured the blogosphere to find a yummy recipe to try out using lavender that I would enjoy.

After narrowing the field down, I landed on a recipe for lavender madeleines. I thought making madeleines would be something different since you don't see them very often and I have never made them. Of course, since this was my first time making madeleines, I needed to purchase a madeleine mold. I walked over to my local Sur La Table to get a madeleine mold but the only one they had was $26. I was not ready to make that kind of investment in a pan that I may or may not use again. The woman working there suggested that I use mini-muffin tins since they were about the same size. Plus it was only $10, my kind of price. And I knew that I would probably use it again. I love muffins!

I figured the recipe would work no matter what mold I used. To start, I had to melt the butter and the lavender and let it steep for 10 minutes.

The aroma that wafted from that sauce pan was to die for. Smelled like a lavender field in my kitchen. The rest of the method was fairly easy. Cream wet ingredients, fold in dry. Easy peasy.

Yummy lavender batter

The combination of the lavender, honey, and lemon smelled (and tasted) wonderful. I couldn't wait to get those babied in the oven. The original recipe called for putting the batter in the fridge for at least 2 hours to help the madeleines set better. I wasn't using traditional madeleine tins, but I figured I should refrigerate it for at least a little bit.

Finally it was time to go into the over. And 12 minutes later, voila!

These little guys were so unique tasting. The lavender, honey, and lemon were each identifyable, but also were in harmony together. I could seeing having these with a nice cup of black tea. Definitely want to eat these babies warmed.

Lavender Teacakes
(adapted from Technicolor Kitchen)

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. dried edible lavender
3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sugar
grated zest of a lemon
2 large eggs (I used Eggbeaters=1/2 cup=2 large eggs)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Melt the butter with the lavender in a small sauce pot. Let the butter and lavender sit for 10 min. Strain if desired. (I left the lavender in because I thought it would make the cakes look pretty)
2. Sieve together the dry ingredients. (Flour, baking powder, salt)
3. Beat the eggs, sugar and zest with a stand mixer for 3 minutes until pale and thick.
4. Add the honey and vanilla and beat for a minute more.
5. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients on a low setting, mixing until just combined.
6. Fold in the cooled butter and lavender.
7. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes. (If using madeleine tins, refrigerate at least 2 hours.
8. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
9. Spray and flour mini muffin tins. (Or whatever kind of mold you are using)
10. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

German Chocolate Cake Cookies

For this week's baking adventure I had a specific task at hand. My best friend's dad (sort of my 2nd dad) has his 50th birthday this week and I was put in charge of bringing a celebration dessert. Normally, we make him and his family German sweet chocolate cake or our Hejma chocolate chip cookies. For example, for their 25th wedding anniversary, we made them this:

Yes, that's right. It's a German sweet chocolate wedding cake. It was awesome. Anyways, back to the task at hand.

I didn't want to make him the usual two options, so how about combine them! Voila, we have German chocolate cake cookies! After scouring the Internet for a recipe I found a few that I kind of melded together. However, and please don't be mad, but the recipes I found use...(gasp)...boxed cake mix!

I know it might be considered "cheating," but it really does the trick. You add so many other special ingredients to the batter that the fact that you are using boxed cake mix doesn't really show. One of those special ingredients is toasted pecans. I loved toasted nuts. The way they perfume your whole kitchen with that nutty, delicious aroma reminds me of a cool fall day. Plus on told of that you add more chocolate, and who doesn't like that?!

Rolling these puppies was very hard. The batter is very gooey and I found it worked best to use a spoon and make a small round ball and then just drop it in the coconut and roll it around. That way I couldn't handle the batter at the very least and get the job done. That way I could limit the amount of sticky batter and coconut that stuck to my hand and then proceeded to get all over my kitchen on whatever I touched. Good thing I needed to clean anyways.

All ready for the oven!

It was really hard to tell when these cookies were done. The coconut was getting nice and toasty, but the cookies were very soft. After 10 minutes, I just took them out and they seemed to be okay. They are supposed to have a cakey texture, so don't worry if they feel really soft.

Almost as pretty as the cake. Almost.

These cookies are good...I don't want to say over the top amazing, but I would say if you can't choose between cake or cookies, these are a perfect combo. You get the size and convenience of a cookie with the flavors and moistness of a cake.

German Chocolate Cake Cookies

1 box German chocolate cake mix
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine all ingredients except coconut until thoroughly combined and the pecans and chocolate chips are evenly distributed.
3. Chill batter in fridge until solid enough to handle. (I put mine in the fridge for about 30 min)
4. Roll into ping-pong ball size balls and roll in coconut. Place cookies on cookie sheet spread about 2 inch apart.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes until centers are cooked but still soft.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

First day of baking! And as promised, today I made Zucchini Blueberry Bread. I wish blueberries were more in season because the selection was not the best, but the price was right at $2 a pint!

So let me tell you a little story. Just as my love of blogging and baking are meeting here, in my kitchen zucchini...
...met blueberries.
Their meeting happened in a delicious batter with white and whole wheat. (I love that nutty flavor and meaty texture whole wheat flour gives to bread.)
Then off into the oven they went with a little oatmeal and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
After an hour in the over, they came out smelling and looking beautiful.
I've got to say, eating this bread fresh out of the oven is the way to go. The blueberries were juicy and sweet and the bread was moist and warm. I suggest popping this bread in the microwave or toaster oven for a quick second before eating to reheat. Definitely best eaten warm. The addition of the oatmeal on top was also a nice addition and the mixture of whole wheat and AP flour gave this bread a really great texture. The bread was also super moist from all the delicious zucchini and substitution of applesauce instead of oil.

The possibilities are endless with this bread. Don't like blueberries? I bet cherries would be delicious too. Nuts could also be a nice addition. Or you could go all natural and strictly make a basic zucchini bread. Good first pick! Can't want to pick the next recipe to try. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Also, if you decide to try out this recipe, I'd love to hear how it goes and see pictures!
Blueberry Zucchini Bread
(adapted from My Baking Addiction)

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup applesauce (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, but I like the moisture applesauce gives to quick breads as opposed to vegetable oil)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 brown sugar, lightly packed (I used dark brown sugar because I thought the extra bit of molasses would add some good flavor)
1 cup shredded zucchini
3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp. oatmeal (optional)

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a loaf pan.
2. In a mixer, beat together wet ingredients: eggs, applesauce, vanilla and sugars. Fold in the zucchini.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients: flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Slowly beat into wet ingredients, scraping down the sides until thoroughly combined. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Pour batter into pan and sprinkle with oatmeal if desired. Bake 55-60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto cooling rack to completely cool.