Monday, November 19, 2012

Our Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is quite a production in my house, and we've already begun with:

Buttermilk Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing

However, not since I really was craving a particular kind of buttercream, they were frosted with this:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Excellent on both counts.  The cupcakes are moist without being soggy, and the addition of milk / cream (in this case, used half and half) makes a huge difference in the buttercream.

This is the full menu plan for Thanksgiving:

Honeybaked Ham Turkey (none of us are huge turkey fans, so this delicious purchased option is fine)
Hines Gravy (ditto)
Cranberry Fruit Conserve
Campbell's Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potatoes With Blue Cheese and Walnuts
Perfect Golden Mashers
Sage, Sausage and Apple Dressing
Maggie Mahoney's Turnips
Ginger Carrots
Maple Pecan Bread
Cranberry Harvest Muffins
Pumpkin Pie (purchased, because only my Mom really likes it)
Cinnamon Ice Cream
Cinnamon-Cornbread Blueberry Cobbler

The last two recipes have already featured on this blog at some point ... and it's me, aaaall me.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Butter butter butter butter ...

So first of all:

A pound of butter.  Diced.

I knew from previous experience that if I tried to dice that much butter at once, it would melt before I finished.  So I cut the butter into slices, then put all but the group I was working with into the freezer.  Once finished, the diced bits went into the freezer.  This worked perfectly.  Having the butter in the freezer for those few moments made it infinitely easier to work with without having it turn into a glacial slab.

It took longer for the butter to incorporate than I had expected, but I wasn't sure whether this was due to the quantity or the fact that the diced pieces had been in the fridge.  As usual, I went a bit generous with the vanilla.  I ended up with a lot more dough than I had expected, but found that I didn't need a rolling pin:  it was much easier to smooth the dough out with my (floured) hands.

On the other hand, I had to flour the cutter I used multiple times, wiping it down and then sprinkling it fresh.  I tried to fit eleven on the bar pan and managed such, but they expanded during cooking to the point that they almost (but not quite) formed one amorphous mass of scone-iness.  I then managed another six - so I might suggest eight or nine per batch for integrity purposes.

The perfect cook-through seemed to be until significant golden-brown shows up on the higher points of the scone.  I waited eight minutes before applying the glaze, so it was slighter thicker than suggested.

Final verdict (scones):  These are excellent, hearty and filling with a perfect scone texture.  My only complaint is (despite the half cup in the batter) you don't taste the maple in the scone itself; it only comes out in the glaze.  Might as well have not wasted that half cup.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Breakfast Treats

Family coming in for Thanksgiving, so I decided to make treats for Sunday morning:  maple scones.  Now, I printed this recipe without even the title, so I can't swear to where it came from, but if anyone is really interested, I'll be happy to pass it along.  Once I confirm they're any good, that is.  They use a pound of butter.  I am vaguely terrified.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Flour

I love a good crockpot meal - throw it together and forget about it.  The chicken enchilada soup recipe truly could not have been simpler.  The ingredient list may look extensive, but it's all quite common and there's very little chopping or prep involved.  I will note that when combined the ingredients, I used an extra teaspoon of chipotle chili and a generous scoop of cumin, which - when directed to season to taste at the end - increased significantly.

Verdict (soup):  Spicy (though keep in mind my adjusted proportions) and satisfying, a soup rather than a stew without being watery or overpowering on the tomato front.  Recommended.

I admit:  I don't hold with buying all these specialty flours when you can make them.  The muffin recipe calls for self rising cake flour; well, you can make self rising flour and cake flour, so I just combined the proportions of extra ingredients for each.  Presto!

"I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" does not live up to its name.  I could immediately tell it wasn't butter.

I also overdosed on the vanilla.  Big surprise.  Moving on. 

Nine tablespoons of mini-morsels is a looot of mini-morsels, folks.  Don't be surprised when mixing them in.

The only small snag I ran into was the cooking time.  It says 15-16 minutes - it took a bit longer than that for me.  The tops will brown slightly before they're done.  A toothpick will not come out clean due to the prevalence of chocolate, but you can tell they're done because it will come out with nothing else but chocolate on it.

Verdict (muffins):  Moist, just sweet enough to satisfy, but not so sweet that they aren't appropriate for dinner or breakfastVery good!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Menu Plan: Week of 11/10

Howdy, all!

Well, since I was at the WFC for a week (see my other blog for more details than you could ever possibly want), I'm in desperate need of shedding a few more pounds, so back to Skinnytaste for just a couple recipes this time:

Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
Ricotta Cheese Chocolate Chip Muffins

I have a rehearsal tomorrow, so the goal is to get the soup going before I leave.

And hey, blogger spellchecker - as far as I'm concerned, crockpot is one word.