Hey guys, have you heard about this brand new food trend: cronuts? Probably not because it hasn't really hit the Internet yet.
Yeah, I'm totally cutting edge. I know. I congratulate myself all the time. "Emma the trendsetter" they call me.
Jk. Cronuts are not new. Everyone is way into them. I'm late. So I'm really, really excited to try some homemade cronuts sometime in my near future. I'd love to try this recipe, or this one, or maybe this one. We'll see. But as you can guess, cronuts (like many donut recipes) tend to be a little labor-intensive. I love a good kitchen challenge, but I also like easy stuff. I'm lazy sometimes.
So this made me curious... What would be the best ready-made dough to use when you want to make lazy cronuts?
I tried two different doughs. I bought some puff pastry and also some crescent roll dough. Seamless. Yep. I said these are lazy cronuts, and I wasn't joking.
Guys, one of these made some really yummy donuts... while the other was... not the best. Are you on the edge of your seat yet???
First up, I layered each dough before cutting it into donuts. This is how you get all those crazy layers in a cronut. This also means you'll only get 3-6 cronuts out of each package. So, if you wanna make a ton, you better buy a lot of dough. That's a pro tip. You're welcome.
Next, I fried the dough (I used canola oil) at around 350°F. For the puff pastry dough, I fried for about 45-50 seconds on each side. For the crescent roll dough, I fried for about 30 seconds on each side. A good rule of thumb in deep frying (non-meat) items is they should be done within about 60 seconds total. But always do one first, cut it open and see. If it looks undercooked then you'll want to adjust your fry time, not temperture.
After frying, I removed the cronuts to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess grease. Then I made a glaze from 1 cup powdered sugar and a few teaspoons of water whisked in.
The cronuts on the right side are made from crescent roll dough. As you can see, they cooked all the way through while the outside was crispy. Fluffy inside, crispy outside is exactly what we were going for. These were delicious!
The puff pastry cronuts did not work as well. They remained doughy on the inside while the outside was fully cooked. I did try cooking a few even longer and found that they would burn on the outside while the inside remained undercooked.
Since the puff pastry cronuts seemed to be too dense, I decided to try a few with less layers. So I just cut out one layer of puff pastry and fried that. It was better, but still kind of greasy while sort of undercooked in the center. I will say the puff pastry had a better, buttery taste than the crescent roll dough. But if you want easy cronuts, stick with crescent roll dough.
Thanks for coming with me on this cronut kitchen experiment. :) xo. Emma
I know what you were thinking just now. I've got that thing, telepathy. I'm one of the X-Men.
OK, not really, but I bet you were thinking, "Is that nacho cheese on that pasta?" This is only for those folks who didn't read the title (what a spoiler that is, right?).
I am not above nacho cheese pasta. I've never tried that, but I've probably been pretty close with boxed macaroni before. But this is not nacho cheese pasta. It's butternut squash pasta. Because it's THAT time of year.
And I've got to say, this is one of the most creamy pasta sauces you can make. So it's sort of amazing that it's mostly vegetables. There's still cream and cheese in it, don't get me wrong. I didn't say this is health food. But it's certainly packed with more nutrition than boxed macaroni and cheese.
Butternut Squash Pasta, serves 3-4.
16 oz. pasta (I used rigatoni) 16 oz. butternut squash 1 tablespoon butter 5 sage leaves 1 cup cream 1 yolk 1/2 cup parmesan cheese nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste
First we need to peel and cook the butternut squash. There are a few different ways to do this. I decided to use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Then I cut the meat of the squash into cubes. I placed the squash, butter, and sage leaves in a slow cooker and cooked on low for two hours.
Blend the squash and juices together until smooth. Remove the sage leaves before blending.
In a sauce pan, combine the squash, cream, a little nutmeg, and black pepper. Start moderate to light with the seasoning as you can always add more later. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in the egg yolk and continue to cook. Add in the parmesan cheese, stir, and continue to cook until smooth. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
While cooking the sauce, cook the pasta according to the directions. Strain and add the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.
Top with a little more cheese and black pepper. Make this sometime this week. It's just so good! xo. Emma
If I had to pick one piece of jewelry right now to be my "soulmate" jewelry, I think it would be these phrase bracelets. They are everything I'm looking for in a wearable companion. From the leather strap to the modern gold font and the slightly cheeky phrases, it's the perfect combination to make me say, "Gimmie! I want!" in a very mature and dignified manner. Besides looking so darn cute, the other big plus about these bracelets is that they take just minutes to make, and you can personalize them with whatever phrase or hashtag you want! #yesplease!
Cut one side of your leather into a point like the front of an arrow (this makes it easier to slide the letters onto it). Slide your phrase letters onto the leather strap.
Trim your arrow shaped end so you have a straight cut instead. Take one of your magnetic clasps, add a small drop of glue into the opening, and quickly place your leather end into the opening. If you have a light colored leather, be careful not to add too much glue, or it will overflow the opening and darken the leather it comes in contact with (you can see it did a little bit on mine). Place the leather around your wrist to determine the length of the bracelet (keeping in mind how much length attaching the other clasp will add or take away). Cut your leather to size and attach the other side of the clasp.
Now, some bracelets have beads or parts that are supposed to slide freely on the bracelet, but since you want your phrase to be legible, you probably want them to hang out together in a neat little row. Flip the bracelet over and, starting with the middle letter, place a drop of glue where that letter should go. Slide your letter over onto the glue and let it sit for a moment until the glue starts to set. Repeat the process with the other letters until they are all glued in place.
I hope you guys are as into these bracelets as I am—I just adore them. I love the personalization aspect, all the different colors you can do, and they absolutely look like something that you bought rather than made. Yes!! And, on top of it all, they make a perfect gift, especially if you and your girlfriends (or sisters/family of course) have a particular phrase or hashtag that's an inside joke. Those are the best. Most of mine are every other sentence from Arrested Development. Unfortunately, those are too long for a bracelet (although maybe we could do "Marry Me" or "Her?"). Either way, here's the breakdown on this DIY: super easy, really cute, great gift idea. What's not to like? xo. Laura
Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.
What is it about cardboard and wrapping paper that is so bewitching to a kiddo? I remember forsaking all other toys any time a big ol' cardboard box entered my childhood home. If you had given me the choice of a fort made of cardboard and duct tape versus one of those Fisher Price playhouses, I would have chosen the shoddily assembled cardboard version every time.
Recently I've noticed the same tendencies in my own child. I've been saving recycled toy ideas to make for Lucy on my Kiddo Activities and Kiddo Pinterest boards, arming myself with project ideas to encourage this make-do mentality in her play some day soon. I can't wait until she's ready for scissors and glue, but in the meantime, I thought she'd really enjoy a Mama-made playhouse—and boy, did she ever!
We don't have lots of space in our home, so I knew I wanted the playhouse to be easily disassembled and stored behind our big dining room cabinet when not in use. Originally I was thinking I'd use tempered masonite because it's inexpensive, thin, and lightweight. But in the end, I decided foam board would be the quickest/easiest material to work with since all I needed to cut it was my trusty X-Acto blade. A foam board playhouse certainly won't last forever, but if Lucy plays with it often enough, I'll definitely consider using these pieces as a template for a masonite version that she can use outside too.
Is this playhouse recycled? Well, no, it's not. But it sure was cheap and lots of fun for both Lucy and me, so I'd say it's a big win!
I drew out the measurements I used so you can make your own cardboard playhouse without all the guess work. (Click to print.) But if you are working with smaller pieces of cardboard or an actual box, why not come up with your own design?
It's very helpful to have a t-square when marking out the measurements for each panel of the house so you don't have to measure down from each side of the board to get straight lines. I also don't recommend using a marker as I did, but I wanted the photos to show the lines clearly. I'd use a pencil instead so your lines won't be visible if they don't all get cut away.
I used household objects as guides for the round shapes in the playhouse like the window, the arched doorway, and the doorknob. After cutting out the door, you'll want to cut away a little extra around it so that it will easily open without getting stuck inside the opening where you cut it from.
Once all of your pieces are cut out, you're ready to slide it all together! I was able to assemble the entire house without any assistance, though it would have been nice to have some help standing up the two sides of the house while I slipped on the front or back panel.
I used white duct tape as a door hinge, but I recommend using duct tape to wrap where you will be taping first, so if the door pulls in the wrong direction (which it will if kids are using it), the tape of the hinge won't pull the outer layer off the foamboard.
I think Lucy's favorite part of the playhouse has been filling it with all of her toys, and then throwing them out the window and into a basket she has placed outside the house. Her poor Teddy sure has been through a lot since I built the house! But at least I can testify to the fact that my toddler is quite the baller.
We loved the simple white style of the playhouse, but decided to jazz it up a little bit with the addition of paint, gingerbreading, shingles, and a little more detail drew on with a Sharpie paint pen. There are so many ways you can go with this—it's really a lot of fun!
I used this pink floral spray paint for the gingerbreading and door, and used a regular brown spray paint (I believe Rustoleum brand?) for the shingles. I used hot glue to hold the shingles in place and rubber cement for the gingerbreading.
Part of the appeal of a white foam board playhouse is that you can decorate it however you want! I plan on getting inside there with Lucy and some magic markers and letting her interior design the joint to her heart's content. -Mandi
70 years after its invention, Vornado now has reissued the classic “Vortex Tornado” fan design that inspired the company’s name. With patented engineering, and with styling by famed industrial designer Richard Ten Eyck, this Vornado fan design is one of the most famed in fan history — at peak popularity, nearly one-third of the fans sold in American were Vornados. Now reisssued, this Vornado VFAN is available in three colors — red, stainless and the gorgeous, original 1945 green. And, it’s “real metal” — yay!
Made mostly of metal like the original and updated with enhanced safety and quieter airflow, this delicious looking fan retails for $139. Currently it’s on Amazon for $130 (affiliate link):
Darn fun video — seriously, you gotta!
The video above shares more information about the company history of Vornado and the innovative fan design.
Info and photos from Vornado:
From the press release:
THE RETURN OF THE CLASSIC VORNADO – INTRODUCING VFAN™
The Vornado “Fan” That Started It All Almost 70 Years Ago Has Returned
In 1945, Vornado® introduced a fan with a unique appearance – that would soon become an icon of the “Streamlined” Age of Design. Now, nearly 70 years later, the quintessential Vornado returns as an authentic reissue called VFAN™.
The original Vornado products challenged how a fan should look and function – focusing on finely tuned aerodynamics and pure power. The result was a “fan” that looked completely different, and had the ability to circulate all the air in the room. For the first time, in an era without air conditioning, everyone in the room could be cool and comfortable. With an “air circulator” there was no longer a need to stand in front of a fan to stay cool. The secret was Vornado’s “Vortex Tornado” airflow that was so unique and powerful that it literally inspired the company’s name – “Vornado”.
Today, the VFAN™ delivers the same powerful circulation on which it’s reputation was built, and its classic styling adapts perfectly to any setting. Available in Chrome, Red and the original Vornado Green the VFAN™ blends harmoniously with any decor or color schemes. Though the classic design is a decorator’s dream, Vornado has also enhanced safety features and quieted the airflow, making VFAN™ perfect for the needs of today’s discerning consumer.
True to the original, VFAN™ is built with high standards using real metal for durability and authenticity. The VFAN™ delivers true whole room air circulation – a 70 year old concept that still out-performs stationary and oscillating fans sold today. With Whole Room Circulation, everyone in the room feels comfortable. With a VFAN™ circulating the air in the room, the room feels up to 5 degrees cooler. This allows VFAN™ owners to save money by reducing their central air conditioning bills.
The VFAN™ features 3 speed settings, and a pivoting head to direct airflow in any direction. The VFAN™ comes from an age when brands took pride in their products and stood behind them – the approach Vornado continues today. That is why VFAN™ comes with a 5 Year Complete Satisfaction Guarantee. Beyond a warranty, if a customer is not completely satisfied, Vornado® will repair or replace VFAN™ for 5 years from the date of verified original purchase.
From circulators and heaters, to air purifiers and humidifiers, Vornado has a long line of products built to keep you comfortable. Now’s your chance to own the one that started it all.
UPDATE: Some of you have been wondering why the fan blades on the Vornado VFAN are plastic, Pam even thought she read somewhere that the original fan blades were also plastic, so I reached out to Brian Cartwright from Vornado for clarification on the matter.
Various models of Vornado fans did have metal blades –primarily starting in the 1950’s.
However, Vornado’s original products in the 1940’s utilized “bakelite” blades. Bakelite was among the earliest forms of plastic. And it wasn’t to save cost – actually it was very progressive. The bakelite blades were quieter, created less vibration, and were more aerodynamic. We don’t have records of what drove later models to metal blades in the 1950’s – but our plastic blades relate back to those original 1940’s bakelite models.
Even though plastic is passé now, it actually is a pretty cool part of the product tradition.
Personally, I love these fans and immediately wanted one — as my husband has been complaining about the need for a fan in-between air conditioning and heating season. The only reason I don’t have one yet — I can’t decide on a color — all three of them are great options to coordinate with retro decor.
Whoever invented soup was a genius. I hope they somehow monetized the whole idea for themselves because they deserve it.
Do you know what soup is? It's regular food, cooked until soft, then blended up (sometimes super smooth and sometimes left chunky). That's it. They took good food and blended it up. Made it slurp-able. You can transport it in a thermos. It's food they serve you as a course before other food at a restaurant.
The whole thing is baffling really. And I am totally on board with it. I l-o-v-e soup.
I am a bit partial to broccoli cheddar soup. I don't know if I would go so far as to say it's my favorite, but it's definitely up there.
This is broccoli cheddar soup but with a bit of a twist. It's got dumplings/biscuits baked into it. So it's kind of a soup, pot pie hybrid thing.
And if you don't like the idea of bread baked into your soup... dude. What's wrong? What happened in your life that this doesn't excite you? I mean, I guess we can still be friends but, like, I bake bread into soup and you're apparently a food-hating monster, so I don't know how good of a friendship it's gonna be.
Overreacting? Me? Never.
Broccoli & Cheddar Bake, serves 3-4
2 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup flour 1 small onion, finely chopped 3 broccoli florets, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided) biscuit mix (I used Bisquick, which required I add water to the mix. Check yours for additional ingredients you may need.) salt + pepper
First up, prep all your vegetables as prompted in the ingredients list. I generally like to do all my prep work at the same time before I start cooking. This ensures that I won't be cutting up something super quickly, hurrying because something else is almost done cooking. That's a good way to cut yourself unless you feel like you already have Iron Chef type knife skills.
In a large sauce pan or pot, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook for a couple minutes until they begin to soften. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to form a thick paste.
Pour in the first cup of stock and whisk until you've created a gravy-type consistency. Then add the broccoli, garlic, remaining stock and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until well combined and the cheese begins to melt. If you want to use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the mix, do so at this point, or you can leave it chunky. Up to you.
Mix the biscuit mix according to the package directions; I added 1/2 cup cheese to my mix to make cheddar biscuits.
Pour the soup into a casserole pan, sprinkle on the remaining cheese, then drop the biscuit dough on top. Bake at 450°F for 15-18 minutes.
If you'd rather bake the biscuits separately and just serve them alongside the soup, you can. You can just use the soup recipe and ignore my advice about baking the biscuits on top. Whatever.
This makes an awesome winter dinner option. Try it. Bake the biscuits on top. Do it. xo. Emma
Guess what? I have something to tell you! It’s very important. Are you ready? Here goes.
Today is National Coffee Day!
No really. It is. And while we’re on the subject, what entity decides official days in our world? National Pancake Day, National Meatball Day, National Spam Day…who determines these? Is there a government committee? Or is it just Twitter? Let me know when you find out.
And in the meantime…here are three very simple homemade versions of Starbucks’ famous blended Frappuccinos! They’re surprisingly easy to whip up at home, which is essential for me considering the closest Starbucks is five trillion thousand million hundred miles from my house.
Feel sorry for me, please.
First, you need really strong—and I mean, strong—coffee that’s been chilled. I’m fresh out of the coffee concentrate I usually like to keep in my fridge, so I just brewed some extremely strong coffee (have I mentioned it needs to be strong?), poured it into a mason jar, and popped it in the fridge until it was really cold.
(But if you have time…use this recipe to make a large amount of cold brew concentrate! You’ll be glad you did.)
The coffee basically needs to be too strong for the average person to drink straight—and actually, too strong for the average person to drink with a little cream and sugar added! You have to account for the dilution that will happen when you blend it all with ice and milk; you still wanna taste that beautiful coffee flavor when the Frappuccinos are all ready!
So (at the risk of beating a dead horse)…strong, okay?
Start by pouring the concentrate into a blender.
Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I’m already getting excited.
Now for the milk! I used whole milk because I have issues of rebellion stemming from my childhood, but you can certainly use 2%, 1%, or even nonfat milk!
Just be sure to splash in some heavy cream if you do that.
Don’t add milk to the point of it being super creamy; it still needs to be really strong and coffee-ish.
Now, for a little added touch of deliciousness, add some vanilla!
And for the sweetness…
Sweetened condensed milk. The nectar of the gods!
Now, you can always add straight sugar or a simple syrup. I just like using sweetened condensed milk because, well…issues from my childhood.
And it’s just so darn delicious.
Add about a fourth a cup…or a little more, depending on your taste.
Now you just need ice. This is only half the quantity I used; you pretty much need to top off the whole blender.
Then just blend the heck out of it until the ice is totally broken up and the Frappuccino is nice as smooth.
Well, as smooth as it can be with all that nice, crunchy ice.
This is perfect.
You can add more ice, more milk, or more coffee concentrate depending on what it needs and what consistency you want. I like it pretty icy and thick like this, so I’m just gonna go for it.
Now that right there is a Frappuccino. Eat it with a spoon, sip it with a straw…whatever makes your skirt fly up.
Now, to make a MOCHA Frappuccino, all you need to do is add a good amount of chocolate syrup. Just like I’ve been driving home the point ad nauseam that you really want to taste the coffee flavor…you also really want to taste the chocolate flavor.
And this definitely warrants whipped cream. Oh, and full disclosure: This is Reddi Wip.
I feel cleansed having told you that.
Oh, what a beautiful sight.
But wait! There’s more! How about a Mocha CHIP Frappuccino? Just add a good amount of chocolate chips…
And blend it until the chocolate is broken up into tiny bits.
(Do your kids ever get the Double Chocolaty Chip Frappuccinos at Starbucks? Mine do, and before I hand them back into the back seat, I drink half of them first. Delicious!)
All of these Frappuccinos are treats…but this is definitely in the decadent category. The bits of chocolate are glorious.
Pour it in the glass, and get very excited. This is gonna be good.
I probably could have blended it a little bit more to break up the chocolate. But I think I can surge on in spite of this hiccup. With the help of family and friends…I’ll make it.
Whipped cream, chocolate chips (or you can drizzle on more chocolate syrup)…and you’re good to go! (Here, it has sat for a few minutes and you can see all the sedimentary layers of deliciousness. Sigh.)
Happy National Coffee Day, everyone! I hope you’re celebrating in grand style.
Here’s the handy dandy printable.
Include prep time, etc.
12 ounces, fluid Very Strong Brewed Coffee Or Espresso, Chilled
8 ounces, fluid Whole Milk (more To Taste)
1/3 cup Sweetened, Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Chocolate Syrup
1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (more If Desired!)
1/4 cup Half-and-half (optional)
To make Vanilla Frappuccino: Add coffee, milk, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla to a blender. Top off blender with ice and blend until smooth and icy. (Add half-and-half if you'd like it to be a little richer and creamier.) Serve in a glass with whipped cream on top.
To make Mocha Frappuccino: Add coffee, milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and chocolate syrup to a blender. Top off blender with ice and blend until smooth and icy. (Add half-and-half if you'd like it to be a little richer and creamier.) Serve in a glass with whipped cream on top.
To make a Mocha Chip Frappucchino: Add coffee, milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate syrup, and chocolate chips to a blender. Top off blender with ice and blend until smooth and icy, with tiny chocolate bits throughout. (Add half-and-half if you'd like it to be a little richer and creamier.) Serve in a glass with whipped cream on top, and drizzle the whipped cream with chocolate syrup or dot with more chocolate chips.
Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 29 2014
I have just read through some of the online exhibits here from the collection Children’s Books and War from Ryerson University. This is a sample of some titles, click through for more. They are short reads, with illustration, very good.
There are recipes on my Cook This list that I’ve been plotting for years but take forever to jump from that place where they’re a rough idea of how I think something might taste good and how I’ll make that happen. There are items on the list which are just the names of dishes I haven’t tried yet and want to learn more about. And there are recipes that make me kick myself every time I see them because how have we not made a good hearty tortilla soup here yet? And where is that Russian napoleon I’ve been promising you? But this here is none of the above. Exactly one month ago, someone emailed me (hi Angela!) and asked if I had ever made a German Sunken Apple Cake [which sounds even cooler in its native language: Versunkener Apfelkuchen] and I had barely finished reading the email before I had a new tab open because I had to immediately know what it was.
What it was is adorable. Seriously, it’s relentlessly cute. Small apples are peeled, halved, cored and then scored and arranged rump-up on a buttery cake base and in the oven, the cake begins to creep up around them and the apples fan out like accordions and the whole thing is so golden, dimpled and lovely that I abandoned all hopes, plans to do anything else until I could make this happen. (Perhaps predictably, this still took three weeks.)
This post is for all of you. But it's also for me.
Every year at around this time, I endeavor to make a perfect apple crumble that lives up to my expectations of fallish flavors and relative ease so far as desserts go. In fact, before the season's up I usually make several, the first of which is not quite right and a few more that are only marginally better. I typically make them from memory, relying on appoximations of proper butter to flour ratios and wholly skipping certain ingredients because I've forgotten about them over the past year. None of that is very encouraging, so I told myself that this fall I would finally settle on an actual recipe that warrants the remaking.
Here it is, recorded on these tea leaves for my future reference and yours. I riffed on a recipe from Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson's Rustic Fruit Desserts in part because Cory happens to be married to the sister of my dear brother-in-law and what a treat that is, and in part because a book with such a title suggests that those two know a thing or two about making apple crumble.
The original recipe calls for apples and cranberries, but because we're in that delicious in-between time where the nights are cool but the days are still warm, I added blackberries to my crumble as a kind of farewell to summer. I've made a few adjustments to account for the swap in fruit, and a few to account for my general laziness.
For the topping: 2 cups rolled oats 1 1/2 cups flour 1 1/3 cups brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
For the filling: 8 large apples (I used 1/2 honey crisp, 1/2 gala, and 8 instead of 10 so they would fit into my baking dish) A dash or two of lemon juice 6 oz (or therabouts) blackberries (I used frozen blackberries. But fresh would be delightful if you're anywhere where you can still find them.) 1 cup granulated sugar (The original recipe calls for an extra 1/3 cup of sugar, but because blackberries are sweeter than cranberries, I left that bit out.) 2 tablespoons cornstarch A healthy sprinkling of ground cinnamon (The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons if you prefer to follow instructions.)
1. To make the topping, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, sea salt, and melted butter in a large bowl. I used salted butter because it's what we had. This is probably not what a proper baker would do, but I am not a proper baker. The melting of the butter is absolute key. It will make this dessert and every variation you make ever after.
2. After the topping is mixed, pop it into the freezer to firm up while you prepare your filling.
3. Peel, core, and slice your apples into evenly thick chunks or slices. (I pulled out my apple peeler/corer to prepare mine. A good thing to remember if you're using such a device: the peeler takes a bit of adjusting to get the peel to be the right thickness. One can end up with nothing but a peel if one is not careful. More about storing superfluous kitchen items here.) I sprinkled a bit of lemon juice on my apples so they didn't brown too much while I hopped around taking pictures chopped.
4. Combine apples, blackberries, sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl, and dump into a buttered baking dish.
5. Press the chilled topping evenly over the top of the fruit and slide the dish into a preheated 375° oven for 60 to 70 minutes. You'll want your crumble to be nice and golden on top and the fruit inside to be soft. If your topping begins to brown too much before the hour mark, cover the top with a bit of foil to prevent burning.
To serve, add a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream and spoon a bit of the soupy stuff on top.
My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday, and I’d say as marriages go, ours is pretty darn good. We have four kids, work pretty hard, and spend most of our time together, which is just fine with us since we really like each other and all that.
Now, I will confess that there has been one steady source of marital conflict through the years, and that is the fact that I gosh darn love a good meatless burger. I can’t really explain it. It must be a throwback to my vegetarian days. I don’t know…I just love them. And I’ll never, ever forget the time, very early in our marriage, that Marlboro Man and I went out to eat and I ordered—gasp—a veggie burger from the menu. The look on his face—I’ll never, ever forget it. From where he stood, he didn’t even know burgers without meat existed. In his experience, a burger was meat, much like air was oxygen or rain was water. It sent shockwaves through his being, and it shook our foundation to the core.
Over the years, I’ve tried to help my beloved cattle rancher husband understand my position: That my love of meatless burgers has no hidden meaning. It doesn’t mean I don’t also love big, beefy burgers. It doesn’t mean I’m going to start making the family drink shots of wheat grass juice every morning. I just like the taste of weird, mushy concoctions meant to resemble hamburger patties. Call me wacky!
I love you, Marlboro Man.
But I also love meatless burgers.
And I know in my heart that those two things can coexist.
On the show I used this homemade black bean recipe, but it’s much easier just to crack open a couple of cans of seasoned black beans. Honestly, either one works great! So if you have a last-minute hankering for black bean burgers, you don’t have to wait four hundred years while you cook a batch from scratch.
Now, I drain the black beans…but I don’t rinse them. I want to have a little bit of that natural bean liquid to work with.
“I want to have a little bit of that natural bean liquid to work with.”
When I was sixteen and wearing Guess jeans and Cyndi Lauper neon fingerless gloves, I never would have believed that I would ever utter—let alone type—the aforementioned sentence.
Life is a journey.
Pour the beans into a bowl…
Then use a fork…
To mash ‘em up.
Basically, you want to mash them up until they’re pretty mushy, but still have some whole bean pieces throughout.
So sorta mushy.
But not totally mushy.
But kinda mushy.
But not completely mushy.
Thank you for listening.
To bring in a little substance and texture, measure 1 cup of seasoned breadcrumbs…
And pour them in with the beans.
Now, for extra delicousness, peel an onion…
And grate it up.
I love grating onion whenever I want the flavor of onion, but don’t want big chunks of onion getting in the way of my happiness.
Solutions. I’m all about solutions, people.
Throw in the grated onion…
Then, to bind it all together, crack in an egg! It’s the right thing to do.
Now, I like to spice things up a bit because I’m a middle child and have issues with my third grade teacher. Not really. I just like spicy food. So I add a little chili powder!
Then, for kicks, some salt…
And that right there is a bowl full of deliciousness, baby.
You’re just gonna have to trust me here.
Now, smush it all together until it’s all mixed together…
Then, because I was feeling sassy, I added in a little hot sauce.
Now hear this: A little spice, when it comes to black bean burgers, is really, realllllllly nice.
Now I just want to let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes so it can figure out the meaning of life. While that happens, I’ll get the skillet ready!
Drizzle in a little olive oil…
And a little buttah for flavah.
Now, grab a hunk of the bean mixture…
Form it into a nice, neat patty…
And throw it into the skillet. Now, a note about the size of the patty: Black bean burgers are different from regular beef burgers in that they don’t shrink at all when they cook. So whatever size you make ‘em when they go into the skillet will be the size they are when they come out. So if you’re in the habit of making burger patties a little larger than the bun to allow for shrinkage, beware!
Now, I cook the burger on pretty low heat, because I want the middle to get heated through without burning the outside surface.
“Outside surface” is totally redundant, by the way.
So after about 4 to 5 minutes, flip the burger over to the other side and let it cook another 4 to 5 minutes.
Then, to really drive home the lusciousness, I added a couple of slices of Swiss cheese.
After a couple of minutes, I inverted a second skillet on top of the first skillet in order to hasten the cheese melting process.
“Inverted a second skillet on top” – Otherwise known as “a lid.”
Now, during the whole cooking process, I got other burger stuff ready: I grilled a bun with a little butter on a griddle…
Until it was a nice, lovely golden brown.
You can dress the burger however you’d like! I used mayo, not to be confused with Miracle Whip, which we all know is what they serve in Hades…
And some hot sauce. I seriously think I have a problem. Either my body or my psyche needs hot sauce in the worst way. (Pssst. You can use ketchup if you’re more emotionally sound than I!)
Spread it around until it’s all swirly and magnificent.
And are you ready to see the burger now?
Are you sure?
Are you sure you’re sure?
Tada! Man, you’d never know there’s not an ounce of meat in this sucker. And the Swiss cheese is the perfect…well, icing on the cake.
Put it on the bottom bun…
Then I spooned on a little more mayo/hot sauce mixture, followed by some lettuce, and a big slice of tomato.
And the top half of the bun, of course!
Then I realized I forgot the onion—which made everything utterly perfect.
So delicious, and half of this baby was totally satisfying. You can also cut out a lot of the bread (remember that the bean mixture also has breadcrumbs in it) by forgoing the bun and just eating the cheesy patty by itself.
Here’s the handy dandy printable!
Include prep time, etc.
Drain, but do not rinse, the black beans. Place them in a bowl and use a fork to mash them. Keep mashing until they're mostly broken up, but still have some whole beans visible. Add the breadcrumbs, onion, egg, chili powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir until everything is combined, then let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil with an equal amount of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Form the bean mixture into patties slightly larger than the buns you're using (the patties will not shrink when they cook.) Place the patties in the skillet and cook them about 5 minutes on the first side. Flip them to the other side, place 2 slices of cheese onto each patty, and continue cooking them for another 5 minutes, or until the burgers are heated through. (Place a lid on the skillet to help the cheese melt if needed.)
Grill the buns on a griddle with a little butter until golden. Spread the buns with mayonnaise and hot sauce, then place the patties on the buns. Top with lettuce and tomato, then pop on the lids!
Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 22 2014
I don't know about you, but every autumn season I get the itch to start something new! I don't know what it is, but every year I feel in the mood to get crafty or start some kind of project that I can do at home. In case any of you feel the same, we thought it would be fun to do something together. So, we've worked with Holly Neufeld to create a series of posts designed to teach you to crochet! I have been looking forward to this series for a few months now as I am in NEED of brushing up on some long-forgotten skills. So without further a do, take it away, Holly:
Crocheting is one of my most beloved hobbies. I think one of the biggest reasons I love it so much is the simplicity of it. You only need a hook and yarn to create something. And it’s so easy to bring your projects with you wherever you go.
I was very fortunate to have my husband’s mom teach me how to crochet. She took a bit of time one summer afternoon six years ago to show me the basics, and I’ve been “hooked” ever since. I started off making scarves and dish cloths, but it didn’t take very long before I was trying amigurumi animals and making hats and cowls. I enjoyed crocheting so much that I was looking for excuses to buy yarn and make things. I ended up opening an Etsy shop in 2007 to sell the things I created.
My wish for you, is that this series will be a simple way for you to grasp the hobby and be well on your way to creating crocheted gifts and lovely things for you, your friends, family, and your home. I hope it ignites a passion for yarn crafts like it has for me.
To begin, you will need yarn, a hook, and scissors. Other things that will come in handy are a measuring tape and a tapestry/darning needle.
If there is a specific project you have in mind, your pattern will suggest a yarn weight that is best suited. There are many different weights of yarn, such as:
0: Lace (or fingering)
1: Superfine (or sock)
2: Fine (or sport)
3: Light (or DK, light worsted)
4: Medium (or worsted, afghan, aran)
5: Bulky (or chunky)
6: Super Bulky
Your yarn label will have a little symbol with a number on it.
The size of hook that you need is determined by the yarn you are using. Your yarn label will also have the suggested hook size printed on it. Either in metric range or letter size.
0: Lace, 1.6 - 1.4mm (steel hook)
1: Superfine, 2.25 - 3.5mm
2: Fine, 3.5 - 4.5mm
3: Light, 4.5 - 5.5mm
4: Medium, 5.5 - 6.5mm
5: Bulky, 6.5 - 9mm
6: Super Bulky, 9mm +
Your pattern will have a gauge that explains how many stitches (st) should be in a certain length, for example, 4 inches. Use your measuring tape to crochet 4 inches of single crochet (sc) stitches to make sure the gauge is correct.
To start, choose a medium or bulky weight yarn and the appropriate hook. With the hook in your right hand, hold it with the hooked end pointing upwards between your thumb and middle finger. Your index finger will be a guide for the yarn, and the handle end of the hook will rest on the outer edge of your hand, with your ring and pinky fingers lightly keeping it in place.
Flip if you are left handed.
Now let's talk about reading a pattern. Crochet patterns are written using abbreviations, which makes them easier to read. Yarn industry designers and publishers use the same abbreviations in most patterns. Sometimes a pattern will have a unique abbreviation and usually explains what it means at the beginning of the pattern. These are a few of the most commonly used abbreviations:
ch, chs - chain, chains
dc - double crochet
dc2tog - double crochet two stitches together
dec - decrease
hdc - half double crochet
inc - increase
rep - repeat
rnd, rnds - round, rounds
sc - single crochet
sc2tog - single crochet two stitches together
sl st - slip stitch
st, sts - stitch, stitches
tog - together
tr - treble crochet
yo - yarn over
beg - beginning
ch sp - chain space
A chain space is, for example, when you ch1 and then skip a stitch before making another ch1 in the next stitch. This creates a little opening which is called the "chain space". So when the pattern reads: 4dc in ch sp, you'll stitch those 4 double crochet stitches in the little opening that was created the previous row. A Granny Square pattern is a pattern that you will work in chain spaces.
Brackets [ ] and parentheses ( ), indicate that you work the instructions within them as many times as directed, often in the same stitch. For example, when the pattern reads (sc, 2dc), it means to do those stitches in the same stitch.
* or * * indicates to repeat the instructions after or between asterisks as many times as directed. For example, the pattern might read: "Row 2: Dc in next 5 sts; *ch 1, skip next st, dc in next st; rep from * to end of row."
Understanding abbreviations, how to read patterns, needle sizes, and different yarn weights will be less overwhelming. This series will teach you basic stitches, and equip you with everything you need to know to start crocheting. So look forward to some fun patterns and how-to videos! -Holly
Sometimes you feel like making macaroni and cheese that involves whipping up a roux, then making a white sauce, then adding cheese to make it a cheese sauce.
And sometimes you don’t.
This ultra-simple, kid-friendly recipe for pasta shells and cheese is absolutely scrumptious and so darn easy to make.
The secret’s in the (artisan cheese) sauce.
Just you wait, ‘enry ‘iggins. Just you wait…
First, boil up some pasta! These are just good ol’ medium pasta shells, but you can use the small shells if you want.
Next, make the gourmet cheese sauce: Add 2 cups of milk (I used 2%) to a saucepan…
And add a pat or two of buttah! And that’s basically the basic basis for the cheese sauce, basically. Note that there’s no flour, there’s no roux, and there’s no white sauce. And that’s what’s so beautifully simple about this recipe!
Heat this mixture over medium-low heat until the milk is heated and the butter is melted.
And now, for the artisan cheese blend, which you can only get from specialty gourmet mail order catalogs: Start with a hunka hunka burnin’ Velveeta. And actually, it would be best if it wasn’t burnin’. Just straight out of the tight foil wrapper is best.
And by the way…have you ever, just for fun, suspended a hunk of Velveeta from a height of a few inches, then released the Velveeta to see if it would bounce?
Try it sometime. It might make you giggle.
After you play a few rounds of bouncy ball, go ahead and cut it into cubes.
Then, to redeem what you’ve just done, grate up a nice amount of sharp cheddar. (On the show I used cheddar-jack, which is delicious, but I love the sharpy sharpiness of the sharper sharp cheddar.)
(I’m in a little bit of a mood today. Can you tell?)
Now, making sure the milk/butter combo is nice and heated, drop in the Velveeta.
Stir it around until the pieces soften…
And eventually melt into a golden, wonderful sauce.
Okay: Redemption time again! Drop in the grated cheddar.
This is what you call the best of both worlds. The creaminess of the Velveeta + the natural sharpness of the cheddar = TruLuv4Evr.
Stir it around until the cheddar begins to melt, then add in some seasoned salt. I use Lowry’s, but you can use whatever salt blend you like to reach for during your life’s journey. (Even lemon pepper would be lovely!) Just don’t leave this out; it makes a really nice difference.
Another essential: black pepper! Really go for it, too. A lot goes a little way. Or something like that. Ha.
Stir it around until the cheese is largely melted…
Then give it a taste…
And add more of whatever you think the sauce needs. Be sure you add enough seasoned salt for the whole thing to be really, really flavorful!
(Pssst. You could also press in a clove of garlic and let it heat up with the butter and the milk. That would be crazy good!)
Cook the pasta until it’s al dente (this isn’t quite there, so I kept cooking it for a little while.)
Then drain it…
And pour it right into the sauce!
Oh, the excitement.
Oh, the promise.
Oh, the impatience.
Oh, the AGONY.
Now just stir it around…
Until the shells are all coated in the sauce.
Now, look at this pan of wonder. It’s somewhat saucy/soupy, and that’s just the way you want it! It will actually thicken a bit as it sits (not that it will sit very long) so if it’s a little soupy/saucy to begin with, there’s a little room to work with.
So there it is—the basic, ridonkulously easy, crazily delicious Shells & Cheese. Serve it up like this in all its glory…
Or you can have a little more fun with it.
Earlier, when I put the pasta water on to boil, I fried up some bacon.
Then I threw it on the cutting board…
And chopped it up. But before I added it to the pan…
I grabbed a bag of frozen peas and poured them right in, ice crystals and all. No need to thaw them first!
Then in goes the bacon.
And I just stirred it around.
Good grief. How lovely does this look?
And maybe “lovely” isn’t the most fitting adjective. Lovely is what you call a salad or a berry dessert or a fizzy drink. I’ll try again.
How gooooooooood does this look?
There. That’s better.
And here are some other things you could stir in: Caramelized onions, finely diced jalapenos, pimientos, halved grape tomatoes…the list goes on!
Dish it up…and when you do, make sure you get plenty of extra sauce in there.
A little extra bacon sprinkled over the top makes the world go ’round.
Whoa. Whoa whoa whoa. Like, seriously. Whoa. It’s almost exactly like Pasta Carbonara!
I’m in love.
Now, just a note: The peas really assert themselves once you mix them in, so start a little light, give it a taste, and you can always add more. I happen to love the flavor of peas, but if you’re on the fence, tread lightly at first.
This is my serving. Just kidding! Hahaha.
(At least I think I’m kidding.)
Enjoy this, my friends! Here’s the handy dandy printable!
Include prep time, etc.
8 ounces, weight Velveeta, Cut Into Cubes (I Actually Used About 10-12 Ounces!)
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (more To Taste!)
1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Frozen Peas (more To Taste)
8 slices Thin Bacon, Fried Crisp And Chopped
Cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente (do not overcook). Drain and set aside.
In a large pot heat the milk and butter over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat, then add Velveeta and stir until completely smooth and melted. Stir in the grated cheddar, then add seasoned salt and pepper. Stir until combined, then taste it and add more seasonings if needed.
Add cooked pasta and stir until coated. It will be soupy and saucy, but will thicken slowly.
If desired, stir in frozen peas (they will thaw) and bacon. Serve immediately.
Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 15 2014
Save money, save the Earth and entertain your kids simultaneously — sounds like winners all around to me! If there's one thing I hear frequently from my four-year-old it's that she doesn't have anything to do, despite our toy cupboard, bookshelves, and craft basket all seem to be brimming with possibilities. But if I give her some recycling, scissors, and tape, she can entertain herself for an eternity.
Le Creuset is offering two vibrant colors of the sleek, oven to table design — a bright reddish orange called flame and turquoise. The reissued Coquelle retails for $375, which is spendy for sure, but golly — a fresh chance to own a simply gorgeous and well designed piece of kitchen history. Pam says she has a couple of pieces of Le Creuset — gifts from her Mom, who is a fan of the brand — and both Kueber women like them a lot, especially for slow cooking navy bean soup and beef stews and other winter comfort foods yummy in the tummy. (They are also both #1 fans of cooking with vintage Club Aluminum.)
Loewy was the most influential industrial designer of the post-war era — designing products ranging from home goods like furniture and kitchenwares, packaging and logo design, industrial designs for trains, cars and other transportation. See his career highlights — and lookie that client list! — here.
Of particular interest here in Retro Renovationland, in 1954 Loewy redesigned colorways for the groundbreaking Formica Skylark boomerang pattern, originally conceived by Brooks Stevens four years earlier. Loewy also worked with architect Stanley Klein and Andrew Geller through his firm Raymond Loewy Associates to help design the American Brand steel kitchen– a longtime favorite on the blog for its easily recognizable curves.
From the Le Creuset website:
In 1958, acclaimed industrial designer Raymond Loewy created a new and unique shape to add to the world-renowned range of Le Creuset cast iron cookware. Internationally famous for his designs for some of the most well-known consumer brands, Loewy created a striking, evocative design called the Le Creuset Coquelle. To celebrate this iconic design, Le Creuset is introducing the Coquelle to a new generation with a limited release.
In addition to being a symbol of mid-century design, the Coquelle delivers the same outstanding cooking performance as every other piece of Le Creuset cast iron, ensuring that everything you stew, braise, simmer or bake will taste delicious.
Colorful, long-lasting exterior enamel resists chipping and cracking; interior enamel is engineered to resist staining and dulling
Sand-colored interior enamel makes it easy to monitor food as it cooks, preventing burning and sticking
Wide handles provide even weight distribution and a secure grip
Phenolic handle is heat-resistant to 500°F
The lightest weight per quart of any premium cast iron cookware available
A blog reader recently emailed me hoping to see a gluten-free version of an oldie but goodie blog recipe – the popular Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars from way back in 2010. There’s something about this time of the year that makes me crave jam-filled oat crumble squares (or really, any kind of baked good, who am I fooling!), so she didn’t need to twist my arm. Not only is this version gluten-free, but it uses coconut oil instead of vegan butter (reduced by about half!), and showcases a new and improved crispy topping. The topping gets crunchy and golden, almost like a granola. Wowzers. My Raspberry Chia Seed Jam recipe was used for a reduced sugar option, but you can use any store-bought or homemade jam you see fit. The beauty of the oat square is that you can change up the flavour significantly just by swapping out different flavours of jam. I think a peach version would be nice too. I made a cinnamon peach chia seed jam a few weeks ago and it was delicious!
Joanna, this one is for you, and anyone who appreciates a classic jam + oat combo! These are healthy enough to start your day with, and delicious enough for an end of the night treat.
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares
Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free
Reminiscent of a Nutri-Grain bar, this version is vegan, gluten-free, and made with a homemade raspberry chia seed jam. These squares require a good period of cooling before they are ready to slice - otherwise they are very delicate and may crumble a bit. However, once cooled (and I even recommend storing in the fridge), they firm up nicely. Feel free to use your favourite store-bought jam (use 1 cup) in place of the chia seed jam if you are tight on time. Oat squares adapted from my Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars. Chia seed jam from here.
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup (used for its binding powers)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
1/2 cup rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
For the jam: In a medium pot, stir together the raspberries, syrup, and chia seeds until combined. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the raspberries break down and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, until cool.
For the oat squares: In a small mug, mix together the chia seeds and water. Set aside for about 5 minutes until thickened.
In a large bowl, stir together the melted oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. When the chia egg has thickened, stir that in too.
One by one, stir in the rolled oats, almond flour, oat flour, baking soda, and salt until the mixture comes together. It will be quite sticky, but this is normal.
Spoon 2/3 of the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and press it down to spread it out evenly. Use a pastry roller to roll it out smooth into the corners. I repeat: the dough will be very sticky!
When the chia jam has thickened and cooled, pour all of it on top of the oat mixture and spread it out evenly.
Take the remaining 1/3 of the oat dough and crumble it evenly on top of the chia jam.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, uncovered, until the topping is lightly golden. I baked for 30 minutes, but this was a bit long in my oven as the topping browned a bit too much. I recommend checking it after 20 minutes and if it's starting to brown, cover the top with tin foil for the remaining 5-10 minutes of baking.
Place pan directly on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then carefully lift out the square and place directly onto the cooling rack until completely cooled. Slice into squares.
Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
Tip: To make oat flour, add the 1/2 cup of rolled oats into a high-speed blender and blend on high until a flour forms. You can substitute this with 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of oat flour if desired.
September is here and we all know what that means: time for internet ladies to lose it over pumpkin spice everything!
Ok, half kidding.
But you totally know it's true. I'm a total internet lady myself, so you can bet I hopped in line for my pumpkin spice latte first chance I got this week. :)
So if you're feeling pumpkin crazy, I have a suggestion. Make this bread. I don't get anything if you do. I'm just saying, it's tasty and could easily find it's way on to a breakfast plate or beside your afternoon coffee. I mean, pumpkin AND chocolate? Yum!
Chocolate Pumpkin Bread, makes one loaf.
1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup softened butter 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cups flour 3 teaspoons cocoa 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
We're going to be mixing things, and then dividing them so we can get that pretty marbled look. Don't fret, it'll all work out in the end.
In a bowl, combine the sugars and softened butter. Mix well. Stir in each egg and then the vanilla extract until just combined. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Remove half of the mixture to another bowl (yes, a third bowl), and to this add the cocoa. Now divide the butter mixture in half between these two bowls. Add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and a tablespoon of greek yogurt to each. Stir until just combined.
Add the batter to a buttered loaf pan in large spoonfuls, dispersing the two colors throughout. Then use a knife to swirl the batter around.
Bake at 325°F for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
Serve warm with a tall glass of milk and a side of autumn vibes.
No? That got a little goofy at the end? Yeah, ok. I can see that now.
This whole newborn stage is a lot more fun than I expected! Team Quirk is feeling pretty great on day six! Remembering back to last Saturday and being in labor and honestly, how much I enjoyed it. Now in awe that this little baby was IN my belly just a week ago. This is good stuff people. Highly recommend having a baby.#babyfelix
I realize I posted my Browned Butter M&M Cookie recipe just last week, and I realize this recipe is pretty much identical, but I definitely wanted to post it separately because this chocolate chunk version will absolutely knock your socks off.
Just make ‘em.
Your life will be forever altered.
Melt a stick of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.
Keep a close watch on it, and swirl the pan around regularly! It will bubble up and sizzle…
Then, a minute or two later, the foam will appear.
And when the foam appears, it isn’t long before the butter is nice and brown. Take the pan off the heat when it gets to this light golden stage.
Because it’ll keep browning even after you take it off the stove.
When it’s nice and deep brown—but definitely not burned/black!—pour it into a dish…
And let it cool completely. This is difficult to do when you have a hankering for warm chocolate chip cookies…but it’s a necessity! If you pour warm butter into the dough, your life will spiral into a series of unfortunate events and you’ll live to regret it.
Once the browned butter has totally cooled, start making the cookie dough! It starts with a stick of softened butter. This, as you can see, is room temperature soft.
Add brown sugar and regular sugar…
Then mix it until it’s all combined, scraping the sides at least once to make sure it’s totally mixed together.
Once the butter and sugars are all mixed together, it’s time to add the browned butter with the mixer on low. And I can not emphasize enough how important it is to add the butter very, very slowly and gradually. If you add it too fast, the mixture will be wet and soupy. So just take your time…
Stopping halfway through to scrape the bowl and make sure it mixes in nice and slow. (And be sure to get ALL the dark brown, beautiful solids in there. That’s where the flavor is!)
Add in 2 eggs, one at a time…
Again (broken record here), scraping and mixing along the way.
Next, a good amount of vanilla.
For the dry ingredients, combine flour…
And instant coffee granules! Now, I know the coffee-averse among you are balking at this ingredient…but please pretty please believe me when I tell you that the cookies do not taste like coffee. The coffee simply adds a depth and richness of flavor, and to prove it: Marlboro Man has never had a cup of coffee in his life because he thinks it will taste bad. And he’ll polish off these cookies like there’s no tomorrow.
As long as I never tell him there’s coffee in them.
I just turn the mixer on low, and add scoops of the dry ingredients so they mix in gradually.
And yes…I’m a-gonna say it: Scrape halfway through!
For the chocolate, I used a couple of these babies.
Soooooo much better than chocolate chips.
You’ve gotta trust me on this.
Just unwrap ‘em…
Slice ‘em into sticks…
Then chop ‘em into chunks!
Throw them into the dough…
Then stir them in until they’re evenly distributed.
Use a scoop or a spoon…
To get the dough onto the cookie sheets. I used a baking mat, but you can use parchment…or nothing, if you’re feeling rebellious!
Totally optional here: I gathered up the extra bits of chocolate from the cutting board and sprinkled/pressed a few into each cookie.
Before I baked the cookies, I popped the pans into the fridge for about 15 minutes, just to firm them up a bit before they went into the oven
Then I baked ‘em until they were beautiful and golden!
Emphasis on beautiful. And golden.
Transfer them onto a cooling rack and let them cool for .3554 seconds.
Then dig right in!
Ahh…look at that luscious chocolate. To die for!
Here’s the handy dandy printable. Just like the M&M cookies from last week…but I like these even better. They’re a keeper!
8 ounces, weight Good Semi-sweet Chocolate, Chopped Into Chunks
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans (optional)
***Note: The amount of instant coffee should have been 2 heaping teaspoons, not 2 heaping tablespoons. I apologize for this error in the recipe entry!
Add one stick of butter to a medium skillet over medium heat. Allow it to melt and bubble up for 3 to 4 minutes, swirling the pan to keep the butter moving around. When the butter is a medium golden brown, remove the pan from the heat (it will continue browning in the pan over the next 30 seconds or so!) Pour butter (and any solids in the bottom of the pan) into a heatproof bowl and allow it to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, allow the other stick of butter to soften.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees*.
Cream the softened butter together with the brown sugar and regular sugar until it’s nice and combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping the bowl if necessary to make sure everything is incorporated.
With the mixer on medium-low, very slowly drizzle in the cooled melted butter, making sure to add all the darker brown solids. Scrape the bowl the mix again for 20-30 seconds, until everything is combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, coffee granules, baking soda and salt. Stir together, then add it in 1/3 increments, mixing on low, until it’s totally incorporated. Scrape the bowl and beat for a few more seconds. Stir in the chocolate chunks and nuts, if using.
In batches, scoop by heaping teaspoon onto a baking sheet lined with a baking mat, Press extra chocolate chunks into the tops of each cookie, if desired. Refrigerate scoped cookies for 15 minutes, then bake for 9 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve cookies with a big glass of cold milk!
Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 4 2014
I have a lot of feelings about lunch boxes, none of them especially genial. But as this teeny tiny person that I only just recently brought home from the hospital, barely able to utter a “beh” and now able to fill a 2-hour car ride back from a beach house with all the words every uttered (hm, wonder where he gets it) begins kindergarten this week, and will do so with a lunchbox in hand, I’ve realized that the only way to move forward with my grouchy feelings about lunch boxes is to air them here, in this town’s square, and then move on.
And so here goes: I, Deb Perelman, resent lunch boxes. I resent that my friend Valerie can send her children to a French summer camp where they are served hot lunches (just the basics, like blanquette de veau, omelette aux champginons and, oh, a galette du rois) on real plates daily and the best my child can hope for is stuff like this. I resent that we don’t prioritize filling our children’s bellies with nutritional, balanced meals that will fuel them their growing bodies and brains through long school days, and that only parents with the means to (time or financially) can provide wholesome alternatives. I resent that I’m looking down the barrel of a decade or more of this, every single school day. And I resent that, on top of all this, if our summer months of packing lunch boxes for camp were any indication, at least half of the food will come back uneaten because a whole lot of places that ostensibly have children’s best interests in mind feed them cookies or crackers with ingredient lists as long as this blog post and juice in the middle of the morning as a snack, sometimes just an hour before lunchtime.
I just got home from a soccer tournament all weekend and was making plans for what I’m cooking all week when I remembered a recipe I photographed a few months ago that I plum forgot to share! And the recipe doesn’t even have plums in it!
Yes, I’m a little loopy today.
This is a really delicious pizza, with warm avocado, bubbly cheese, and other delicious toppings that go on the pizza after it comes out of the oven. You can use a homemade pizza crust (I’m including my recipe below) or you can use a storebought, ready made crust if time is of the essence.
Here’s how I made it!
I started by slicing 2 chicken breasts in half across the middle so I wound up with 4 very thin chicken breast-shaped pieces. You don’t have to do this—you can just throw the whole breasts on there. But I like to slice them into thinner pieces like this because a) they take less time to cook through, and b) you wind up with much thinner pieces once you slice them up.
I just seasoned them with salt and pepper, then grilled them until they were all done!
Then I just let ‘em cool and sliced ‘em up.
My favorite pizza dough on the planet! Below, I’m pasting in the directions for making the dough—I’ve used these same photos in lots of the pizza recipes on my website because, well, they explain it all.
Note: For a time-saver, you can also just use a pre-made pizza crust, storebought flatbread—any pizza crust you want! Just adjust the baking time and temp accordingly.
Here’s what you need for the pizza crust. Totally simple!
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let it stand for a few minutes.
Next, add the salt to the flour.
And stir it around in the mixer for a few seconds.
Next, with the mixer on low, drizzle in the olive oil.
Stir it together till the olive oil is worked into the flour.
Next, pour in the warm water/yeast mixture.
Mix it together until the dough all comes together in a sticky mass.
Then just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours. Or, to really step up the flavor and texture, just park it in the fridge for a few days, sealed in a plastic bag.
Use a rolling pin and/or your hands to get it into a large rough rectangle shape and put it onto a pan.
Drizzle on some olive oil and smear it around with your fingers…
Then sprinkle on lots of salt and pepper.
And now for all the other ingredients! I sliced up a couple of balls of the good, fresh, bright white mozzarella…but you can also use the supermarket mozzarella if you prefer.
(And if you’re feeling really sassy, grate it instead of slice it. C’mon. Take a walk on the wild side.)
And avocado: Slice up 2 or 3. And here’s where I went horribly wrong in my life: I should have squeezed lime or lemon juice all over the slices and tossed them around, both to give the avocados a little bit of an acidy bite and to keep them from browning. But this was back when limes were approximately $1,800.00 apiece and hard to find and I didn’t keep them around in abundance.
So if you make this…give the avocados a nice coating of lime juice.
Also! It’s best if the avocados aren’t quite this ripe/soft since they’ll soften a bit in the oven.
I also finely minced up some red onion…
Sliced some green onion…
And sliced some grape tomatoes!
(Also: Cilantro. Not shown because I’m an airhead.)
Now it’s time to assemble everything: Lay the mozzarella all over the surface of the dough…
Then arrange chicken and avocado slices all over the cheese.
Lookin’ good so far!
Next, sprinkle on the red onion. I minced it really fine because I want the onion to have a chance to soften in the oven, and it wouldn’t do that if the chunks were big.
Raw, crunchy onion pieces are against my religion.
Now, I decided to bake it at this stage, then move on with the other toppings after it came out of the oven. So get it into a really, really hot oven until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. (And pssst. Another squeeze of lime juice would be a really good idea.)
And here ’tis!
The crust is perfect.
As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle on the cilantro, tomatoes…
And green onions.
Then slice it up and serve it right then and there!
Keep in mind that the avocado will tend to brown quickly once it comes out of the oven. (Of course, the lime juice will help, but definitely plan on serving it right away.)
Very simple, very delicious.
Here are the handy dandy printables—both for the pizza and the crust! (Note: the crust recipe below makes two pizza crusts. Store the other one in the fridge for several days until you need it, or make two pizzas at once!)
2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut In Half Half Horizontally To Make Thin Breasts
Olive Oil, For The Chicken And For Drizzling On The Crust
Salt And Pepper, to taste
3 whole Avocados, Ripe But Not Overly Soft, Peeled, Pitted And Sliced
Lime Juice, For Squeezing Over Avocados
1 whole (Medium To Large Size) Pizza Crust, Unbaked
8 ounces, weight Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced Thin Or Grated
1/2 whole Red Onions, Minced Finely
1 cup Cilantro Leaves
1/2 cup Red Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes, Sliced Thin
3 whole Green Onions, Sliced
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil on a grill pan or in a skillet, and cook the chicken on both sides until done in the middle, about 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove from the pan, allow to cool slightly, then slice into thin pieces. Set aside.
Toss the avocado slices in lime juice. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 F. Roll out pizza dough until very thin and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and smear all over the surface of the dough with your fingers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay on the mozzarella, chicken, and avocado slices. Sprinkle on minced red onions. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, then place the pan in the oven.
Bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes, or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and immediately add cilantro, tomatoes, and green onions on top. Squeeze on a little more lime juice, slice, and serve immediately.
(Note: Use store bought pizza crust to save time! Just adjust cooking temperature and time accordingly, based on package instructions.)
Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 2 2014
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.
Note: it’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.
When you are ready to make the pizza, grab HALF the pizza dough (recipe makes 2 crusts) and squeeze the dough toward the bottom to form a nice, tight, pulled ball. You can roll out the pizza with a rolling pin if you’d like, but sometimes it’s just as easy to throw it around and pull and stretch till it feels right. And when the crust is nice and thin, lay it on an oiled baking sheet or pizza pan. Drizzle a little olive oil on the dough and spread it with your fingers. Very lightly sprinkle some salt on the crust.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Top your crust with your toppings of choice. Then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.
Posted by Ree | The Pioneer Woman on September 2 2014
When I was eighteen I went to India for the first time, and I've been dying to go back ever since. It was so beautiful and colorful! It was in India that I had my first chai tea. When I got home I started making chai at home, and then all through my twenties it was my go-to coffee shop drink (did you know I used to think I didn't like coffee? How things have changed!). Anyway, to this day I can't drink a chai without mentally booking a trip to India (I need to book a trip for real). It's a very cool, transportive flavor.
Today I'm here teaming up with Almond Breeze to share a recipe for a frozen chai. It's nice and spicy with a hint of almond—a perfect treat!
Frozen Spiced Chai, serves one.
1 cup Vanilla Almond Breeze Almondmilk 2 chai tea bags frozen yogurt ground nutmeg ground cinnamon ground ginger cinnamon sticks (optional, for garnish) pure vanilla extract whipped cream honey
Prep: The day before, freeze some Almond Breeze into ice cubes. I don't know about you, but I think I almost always prefer almond milk to regular milk—especially in drinks. It just feels less heavy, and of course I love the added almond flavor.
An hour (or more) before making your shake, heat 1 cup Almond Breeze and let it cool in the fridge with 2 chai tea bags to infuse.
In a blender, combine 1 cup infused Almond Breeze; 4 scoops frozen yogurt; 6 Almond Breeze ice cubes; 1 pinch each ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger; 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; and 1 tablespoon honey. Blend to perfection!
Top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.