Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pistachio Sugar Snails


This is one of my favorite recipes but sometimes it takes a lot of time to actually make it, that is why I have a "long" version of the recipe and a " short" version of the same :-). You can chose form either, they are prety much the same in taste.

Long version
( you can actually use a bread machine for the dough)

Dough:
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 tablespoons butter
1 and 1/2 cup water
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon yeast
1 egg white ( to brush on top before baking)

Mix the sugar, eggs and vanilla together. Mix the dry yeast with the flour and add them to the egg mixture. Knead a dough from the mixture and then with a roller pin roll inch thick dough crust. Brush the top of the crust with melted butter and fold in half. Then roll with the roller pin on top and brush again with butter, fold in half again. Repeat this 4 times. When you roll the dough the last time instead of brushing with butter, spread the cream on top. ( recipe for the cream below)

The cream:
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup chopped pistachios

Mix the softened butter with the sugar, until smooth. Add the cinnamon, cocoa and pistachios together and stir until well blended.

After you spread the cream on top of the dough, roll it and cut 1.5 inch thick circles from it. Spray a non-stick spray on a square sheet pan. Place the dough circles in the pan and leave it to rise about 30min in it. After the dough had raised, brush with the egg white on top and place the pan in a warm oven ( around 190F), bake for 10 min and then switch the temperature to 350F. Bake another 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
After you take the sugar "snails" out of the oven, let them completely cool down and then pour the warm ( not hot!) syrup on top( recipe below).

The syrup:
1 and 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine the ingredients in a pan and boil until the quantity is reduced in half. Leave the syrup to cool down and then use as directed above.

After you pour the syrup over the dough snails, leave them like that overnight. Next morning take each of the "snails" out, place in a plate and sprinkle chopped pistachio on top. Serve cold.

The short version
If you don't have time to knead a dough, just buy a puff pastry dough, spread the cream and roll. Cut into circles and then place on parchment paper and bake at 350 F for 20 min. Leave to cool down completely, remove them in a pan without the parchment paper and then pour the warm syrup on top. Leave overnight, then serve cold with chopped pistachios on top.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tannita's Pumpkin Cookies


2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg( powdered)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
1/2 cup melted butter( 8 tablespoons=1 stick)
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

First mix the dry ingredients together - the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, the cinnamon, the nutmeg and the salt. Next mix the butter and sugar in a big pan and add the mashed pumpkin, the egg ant the vanilla. Stir until well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture. Stir thoroughly until well blended.

* Now my personal experience shows that if you are using freshly mashed (baked or boiled) pumpkin there is a difference in the cookie dough afterwards. If you are going to use canned pumpkin I would recommend using 2 cups of flower instead of 2 and 1/2 cups.
Preheat the oven at 350F and place the dough with a teaspoon on parchment paper in a pan. Bake 15 min at the same temperature. When you take the cookies out of the oven , leave them 2 minutes in the pan and then put them on a rack ( or parchment paper) to cool down.
My friend's original recipe is with a glaze, but I used chocolate instead. You can make different cookies- with glaze, dipped in chocolate and then roll on chopped walnuts ( see the picture), covered in chocolate and with a pecan on top ( see the picture).
This recipe makes around 40 cookies.

The icing glaze recipe:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together ( I recommend sifting the powdered sugar beforehand). If the glaze is ticker so you can't spread it- continue to add milk one teaspoon at a time and see if the mixture is spreadable.

The chocolate glaze recipe:
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped chocolate( chocolate chips also works)
1 teaspoon butter

Mix in a pan and melt on the stove on warm. Stir thoroughly. When well blended and dark brown on color, take the cool cookies and either dip half of them and then roll over chopped walnuts, or cover them with chocolate on a rack and place a pecan on top.
Leave them on the rack until the chocolate is completely cool.

For people speaking Bulgarian, here is Tannita's recipe website:
http://www.gotvetesmen.com/forum/index.php?topic=307.0

Enjoy!

Chicken drums( drumsticks) for busy mums!


Chicken drums( drumsticks) for busy mums

12 chicken drumsticks
8 tablespoons butter
breadcrumbs
paprika
black pepper
rosemary
curry
sesame seed
salt

This is very easy recipe I used when my daughter was born, because who had the time to fry chicken when you could bake 12 pc. at one time in a pan :-)

Wash the chicken drumsticks and put them in a pan filled with cold water. Bring the water to boil and boil the chicken until medium cooked. Take them out of the water and place them on paper to dry a little bit. Preheat the oven at 375F and melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a cup.
Mix the herbs and spices with the breadcrumbs. Take one drumstick at a time and dip it in the melted butter ( the butter has to be liquid, not just softened), then take it out and roll it over the breadcrumbs mixture.
Place on a parchment paper in a cooking pan. Bake until crispy on top ( around 25-30 minutes).
Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Oatmeal stuffed eggplant

I haven't posted in a long time, which I apologize for, I know you've been waiting for these recipes!
Unfortunately sometimes life surprises us with "lemon" instead of "honey" and it's a good cook's job to turn it into an awesome lemon pie :-)
It took me some time to do that, but now I'm here with many, many new things that I want to post in the next couple of days.
I am starting with one recipe that I came up with recently for a couple of vegetarian friends that were visiting!.


Oatmeal stuffed eggplant ( serves 8 people)


4 medium size eggplants
1 cup oatmeal
2 diced scallions
1 cup brown rice
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic( diced)
dill
salt
black pepper
red (hot) pepper
4 cups of water
5 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat the oven at 375F. Cut the eggplant lengthwise so you would get two equal in size halves.
Take the inside of each half of eggplant out and sprinkle with some salt on top. You can see on the picture( right) how does the eggplants look when cleaned from the inside part( a bit like a boat :-) ). Leave the cleaned eggplants aside for 15 minutes.

2. Dice the scallions, garlic and mushrooms. Sprinkle the olive oil over preheated pan, add the diced vegetables. When the scallions are golden-brown in color, wash the brown rice with hot running water and add it in the pan.

3.Add the chopped dill, salt, black and red pepper. Stir thoroughly. Add the oatmeal and 3 1/2 cups of water. Let it simmer until the rice is almost cooked.



 4. Wash the eggplants from the salt. With a tablespoon fill each of them with the mixture and place them in a cooking pan ( you can see on the picture left the eggplants) then fill in the pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of water and cover it with aluminum foil.

5. Bake 40 minutes, then remove the aluminum foil and bake another 20 minutes. Take the pan out and sprinkle some mozzarella on top of each eggplant. Bake another couple of minutes until the mozzarella melts.


6. Serve it hot with white garlic sauce, green salad and cherry tomatoes.

Eat with good friends and drink hot red wine :-) 
Enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have a sin to confess!
I have NEVER EVER baked chocolate chip cookies before!
Yep, that's right!
Not that I don't like them, I LOVE THEM! But in my country they are not popular and I thought of them as something extremely hard to make.
Since I got this AMAZING book ( "The Dessert Bible" by Christopher Kimbal) for my birthday though, I decided I will give it a try, and guess what!
THEY ARE PURELY G-E-N-I-U-S!!!

The recipe that's in the book claims to be the fruit of a long and thorough research and testing ( more than 50 variations) and I have to tell you, I believe it! This is not just any cookie, that's the BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE I've ever tried and believe me, I've tried a lot! :-) Don't be fooled that just because I didn't bake them, I didn't eat them! My weight scale can confirm that! :-)

So, I just couldn't but give you the recipe, because it's a life-saving miracle for moms in this sugar-induced-coma season!
The recipe is for 20 large cookies ( I doubled that the first time, because I was sure that there wouldn't be any left for me to test bake on different temperature).
We liked them so much that I had to make 6 rolls with cookie dough in a plastic wrap and put them in the freezer to store!
Basically, from one dose you can have 20 large ( 30 small) cookies or 3 plastic wrap rolls for storage.

Please, be sure to follow the EXACT instructions for best results!
Ingredients:
1/4 Cup Crisco
8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still firm, I will tell you more about this later)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 ounces chocolate chips ( chunks are preferred over chips though)

Now the author explains wonderfully how you should find out if your butter is the right temperature - use a thermometer! :-) But if you don't have one, you can take the butter out of the refrigerator and let it stay for 2 hours outside The author says it is enough time to reach the right temperature- 65F degrees.
There is a whole scientific explanation of the process about butter creaming( as pretty much about everything in this book, it's just unbelievable!) but basically the butter stick has to be able to bend, but not to be soft.
Be sure to use wooden spoon to mix the batter, since the mixer is gonna turn it into soup.

1. Take out your butter at lest 2 hours before mixing the dough.
2. One hour before mixing, take the eggs out of the refrigerator too.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 F degrees.
4. Beat the Crisco and butter in a medium bowl until pretty smooth but with a few harder pieces( about 1 minute)
5. Add the sugars and stir until well blended.
6. Add the egg, egg white and vanilla and beat until smooth.
7. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt ( I have to tell you I didn't do this, since I've always mixed the baking powder and salt with the batter before I add the flour and it worked for me)
8. Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix together.
9. Add the chocolate chips and fold in ( it's better with chocolate chunks, but if you don't have, chips is OK.)

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In the original recipe the author says that if you want large cookies you have to place heaping tablespoons dough on the paper with 1 1/2 inches between the outer edges of the balls of dough. What I did was, I placed the dough on plastic wrap and rolled it in it. then I left it in the freezer to harden up a little bit and then cut in circular pieces.
In the original recipe the cooking time is 12 minutes or until tops are lightly browned ( and you have to rotate the pan front to back halfway trough baking). I found that 12 min baking and 1 min broiling works just fine for me, but all ovens are different so I recommend you do some testing on your and find out the best timing. I baked different batches, so I can see the difference in the timing and the way the cookies tasted afterwards.
DO NOT overcook!
They are going to be crispy and that's not the point!
The good cookie is crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside!
Remove the cookies from the baking sheet immediately. Let them to cool down.
If you cooked the cookies properly, they would stay chewy for at least 2 days!
Enjoy and don't forget to check out the book!

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