Monday, October 12, 2009

The Perfect Snickerdoodle

The Perfect Snickerdoodle
adapted from Whole Wheat Baking cookbook and Emeril's recipe

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I used Smart Balance Butter Blend), softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 cup WW flour (plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tb. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Heat oven to 350 F. Prep all ingredients before beginning. (I do this before everything but I think it's extremely important for these cookies.) Soften butter, crack egg and measure out 3/4 cup sugar. Sift all AP flour, 1/2 cup WW flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt into a bowl. If you are patient enough, sift twice (this ensures really fluffy cookies). Combine 2 Tb. sugar and cinnamon in a small shallow bowl.

Beat butter. Slowly add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

It's hard to depict light and fluffy in a picture but it's a really pale yellow and looks like it has almost doubled in amount. Add egg and beat until fully incorporated before adding vanilla.

Blend in sifted flour mixture, slowly, not all at once. You may have to add more flour. I had to add 2 more tablespoons of WW flour to get it to the right consistancy. It should be slightly sticky but also easily rolled into balls. If you're unsure of the consistancy, bake one or two cookies and if they raise up, it's right but if they spread out wide, you need more flour.

Round out tablespoons (don't use your palms, too much heat) with your fingertips and the roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture until covered. Space on greased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. DO NOT OVERCROWD.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until the top lightly browns. Let sit for 2 minutes.

Move to cool on a wire rack. Makes 1 1/2-2 dozen.

Tilapia and Corn Stew - serves 2
from Weight Watchers in 20 minutes cookbook
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced (1/2 tsp pre-minced)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used my last one from the small! :( oh well...)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with chiles (recipe calls for half a can but we LOVE tomatoes and using the whole can only adds like 30 calories per person)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen lima beans
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tilapia fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until light golden, about 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juice, the corn, lima beans and spices; bring to a boil.

Add the tilapia, stirring gently to coat the fillets with the liquid, return to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, covered until the tilapia is just opaque in the center, about 6 minutes. Ladle the stew into bowls.

I serve with corn muffins.

Puffins, anyone?

To redeem myself from a baking disaster Friday night, I decided to make the Mini Pancake Muffins I found..."Puffins" :) I don't have a mini muffin pan so mine weren't mini but they were delicious! I cracked an egg into the bowl and look what I found...

twins! I'm not kidding...that's only one egg. Crazy, huh?

Maple Pancake Muffins
adapted from Bakerella
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tb. sugar
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tb. maple syrup
  • 2 Tb. melted butter
  • chocolate, optional
*To make 1 cup of buttermilk, put 1 Tb. lemon juice in the bottom of a measuring cup and fill with milk to the 1 cup mark. For 2/3, use 2/3 Tb. lemon juice and fill to 2/3 cup and so on.

Preheat oven to 350 F and generously grease your muffin pan. I employed Alton Brown's muffin method while making these because...well, because AB is always right. :) Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a bowl and "sift" with a wire whisk. Basically, combine with a whisk and let the flour mixture fall through the wire whisk to create finer particles. (Using the word particles in a recipe definitely comes from watching too many episodes of Good Eats.) In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter until just combined.

Nice action shot, eh? :) Always add wet ingredients on top of dry ingredients to prevent mixing messes.

Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. AB uses 10 well-rounded strokes until everything is incorporated and then just walk away. Leave the lumps...they will work themselves out.

See, now I'm quoting the Muffin Man episode. It's pathetic, really. Oh well. Divide the batter into the muffin cups. I used 1/4 cup measuring cup to ladle it in there and somehow only got 11 instead of 12...hmm.

I topped a few of mine with chocolate chips, but you can leave them out or mix them in right before ladeling. You could get creative, any manner of toppings would work...but chocolate is always a winner in my book. I baked my muffins for 12-13 minutes and she baked her mini muffins for 8-9 minutes. Just keep a close eye on them and use a toothpick to check. Serve with maple syrup for dipping.

These were seriously good. Definitely will be repeated. I'm not sure if I would put the chocolate chips in the actual batter because mine sunk to the middle anyways and I don't think I could handle more chips than this...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tortellini Soup

I had alot of fun making last night's Tuscan Tortellini soup and I have some free time so I figured I'd share! Keep in mind, I was cooking for two and made some adjustments for preference so it's not exactly like the linked recipe but it's dangerously close. ;)

Tuscan Soup with Tortellini
from Food Network's "Sandra's Money Saving Meals"
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (supposed to be half  a can but we LOVE tomatoes!)
  • 1/2 bag (8 oz) frozen Italian mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 Tb. Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder (supposed to be a chopped onion but I forgot and I was out)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 bag (8 oz) frozen tortellini
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 2 minutes, being careful not to let the garlic burn.

Add the beef broth followed by the water. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the tortellini. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the tortellini and let simmer until the tortellini is cooked, another 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve with Herbed Focaccia.

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