Please Use A Pot Holder! Dutch Baby With Bacon Maple Syrup

After a brief hiatus, Shortbread is back to life and ready to bring y’all some tasty recipes for your kitchen!  First up is this Dutch Baby with Bacon Maple Syrup.  If you haven’t ever made one of these before, you won’t believe how simple it is.  The batter is made in the blender, just like my crepe batter, but is doesn’t need to rest at all and you just pour all of it in a preheated skillet and bake.

Dutch Baby

Which brings me to the post title warning:  DON’T FORGET THAT THE HANDLE OF THE PAN IS HOT!!!  Unfortunately, the deliciousness of this dish did not take away the burning in my hand, but it did take my mind off of it for a few minutes.  Especially when generously covered with Bacon Maple Syrup.  Let me just say that one more time…Bacon Maple Syrup.  Which is also so easy and so delicious and not at all limited to use in this recipe only!

Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby with Bacon Maple Syrup

serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 bacon slices, diced
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • confectioner’s sugar
  • whipped cream (optional)

Directions

  1. Put an 11-inch skillet or oven proof sauté pan in a cold oven and preheat the oven to 475°F.
  2. Put the eggs, flour, milk and vanilla in a blender. Blend on high until frothy, about 30 seconds, stopping the blender to scrape down the sides as needed.
  3. When the oven is preheated, add the butter to the hot skillet and return it to the oven until the butter melts and browns, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour the batter into the hot skillet and bake until the Dutch baby is lightly browned and the sides have risen, 17 to 19 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a smaller pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard the fat in the pan. Return the bacon to the pan and add the maple syrup. Simmer over medium heat for 20 seconds. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
  7. Remove the skillet from the oven and let the Dutch baby cool for 3 to 4 minutes. Cut the Dutch baby into wedges and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately with the bacon syrup and whipped cream if desired.

adapted from Williams-Sonoma Recipes

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{Tuesdays With Dorie} Baking With Julia Pecan Sticky Buns (Whew)

Whew!  I have to say I feel like I just ran a marathon after making these Pecan Sticky Buns.  It’s a good thing though, that these take so much time and effort to make because if it were easier I might be tempted to make them more often and that would not be good for my thighs.

The recipe for these buns (which was contributed by Nancy Silverton – love her) begins with making a brioche dough, which in itself is a fairly complicated and time consuming process with lots of rising and chilling and rolling.  Then once the dough is made, it is made into buns with a lot more rolling and chilling and rising.  And a lot of butter.

Even though there were a ton of steps in the recipe, they were all very easy to follow and really caused me no problems.  And the end result was the best sticky bun I have ever put in my mouth, with super flaky layers of dough and a nutty caramel topping.  Definitely worth the extra effort.

If you are tempted to try your hand at making this recipe you can visit this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie/Baking with Julia hostesses, Lynn of Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Nicole of Cookies on Friday.

Brighten Your Day Turkish Eggs

Are you looking for a new way to brighten up your morning?  This recipe will do just that.  Turkish Eggs are eggs that are poached and served with garlicky yogurt and topped with warm oil or butter infused with paprika.  Use your favorite paprika in this – sweet, smoked or hot for extra special flavor.  Savor the last of it with some warm flatbread or pita if you like.

Turkish Eggs

makes 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter, or combination of both
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • fresh mint or parsley, torn for garnish
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix yogurt with minced garlic. Season with salt then set aside.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to bring to a simmer, and add vinegar. Crack egg into a small bowl, stir simmering water in circles until swirling, then gently pour egg into the pan in the same direction as the water is moving. Keep water at a gentle simmer and cook egg for 3-4 minutes for soft yolk and 5-6 for firm yolk. Remove egg with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
  3. Pour water out of the saucepan and wipe dry. Return to heat and add oil/butter. When warm, add paprika and stir for about a minute. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Spread garlic yogurt on a plate and top with poached egg. Drizzle paprika oil/butter over egg. Sprinkle with mint or parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

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In Your Dreams Whole Wheat Chocolate Croissants

 

How do you know when your kids are watching too much Disney Channel?  That would be when you have a dream you’re a teenager and friends with the Jonas brothers, at a party at their house, and the girl who plays London on The Suite Life (Brenda Song) is trying to pick up your boyfriend.

I would probably be a little more worried about my mental state if I wasn’t going through a period in my life where I dream crazy dreams all night (or at least it seems like it).  So, sadly enough, this isn’t the most disturbing dream I’ve had lately, but at least I can laugh about this one.

I’m sure I’ve dreamed about Chocolate Croissants before, because I LOVE THEM.  I know I’ve daydreamed about them.  In the past I’ve made chocolate croissants with store-bought puff pastry and later with homemade puff pastry.  But this time I used King Arthur Flour’s recipe for Classic Whole Wheat Puff Pastry, from their giant tome, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.

Their recipe uses a combination of whole wheat pastry flour (usually found at a natural food store like Whole Foods or Earth Fare), and bread flour and is then made in a similar way as traditional puff pastry.  The result is a dough that bakes up flaky and flavorful, with almost as much flakiness as that made from all regular flour (and perhaps a little less guilt?).

One batch makes enough for 24 croissants, but I divided mine into fourths and froze three parts for later.  It’s a very nice thing to have in the freezer when you feel the craving for some pastry coming on, or if you start dreaming about them.

Chocolate Croissants

from Shortbread

makes 9

Ingredients

  • 1/2 recipe Whole Wheat Puff Pastry (see below for recipe)
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips, chocolate pieces or 9 chocolate batons
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle. Cut into thirds lengthwise, and then into thirds across to make nine 4 x 6 inch rectangles.
  3. Place about 2 tablespoons of chocolate or one chocolate baton in the center of each rectangle. Fold the rectangles like a letter and place seam side down on the baking sheet, pressing gently to seal.
  4. Cover the croissants with plastic wrap or a towel and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  6. Uncover and brush the tops of the croissants with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake until the dough is deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

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Whole Wheat Puff Pastry

adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

makes 3 3/4 lbs dough, enough for 24 croissants

Making the Dough

  • 3 cups (10 1/8 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) nonfat dry milk
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (13 ounces) water, room temperature
  1. Whisk together both flours and the dry milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter and mix with the paddle attachment until the mixture resembles oatmeal (or cut in with a pastry blender). Add the salt to the water and stir until dissolved, then pour into the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a rough ball and pulls away from the sides. Add more water a tablespoon at a time if there is still flour at the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead using a dough scraper to help lift it until it becomes smooth, about 2 or 3 minutes, trying not to add too much more flour (the dough needs a little extra moisture for the wheat to absorb).
  3. Pat the dough into a square about 1 inch thick and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preparing the Butter

  • 2 cups (4 sticks, 1 pound) unsalted butter, softened but still cool to the touch
  • 1/3 cup ( 1 1/8 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
  • all-purpose flour for dusting

In a mixer or food processor, or with a spoon, combine the butter and pastry flour until smooth. Lightly flour a piece of plastic wrap and place the butter/flour mixture on it and pat it into an 8 inch square. Wrap the butter completely with the plastic and refrigerate on a flat surface for at least 30 minutes.

Rolling and Folding

You will need:

  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • rolling pin
  • ruler or yardstick
  • pastry brush
  • small bowl of water
  1. Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 12 inch square.  Unwrap the butter and place it in the center of the square at a 45 degree angle. (with corners pointing up and down and side to side).
  2. Moisten around the edges of the dough with a pastry brush dipped in water. Pull the corner flaps of the dough over the straight edges of the butter until they meet in the middle, and press to seal the edges together, smoothing out any air pockets before sealing the last seam. Dust the top with flour, then turn it over and gently tap it with the rolling pin into a rectangle, adding more flour underneath if the dough starts to stick.
  3. Continue to roll the dough into a 20 x 10 inch rectangle. Turn the dough so the short edges are at the top and  bottom and brush off any excess flour from the top of the dough. Lightly wet the edges. Fold the bottom short end of the dough up 1/3 to the middle of the rectangle, and then fold the top short end down to line up with the bottom edge of the dough, like a business letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees to the right, so it looks like a book = First Turn.
  4. If the dough feels warm or springs back when you roll it, cover it and return it to the refrigerator for 20 minutes. If the dough is still fairly cool and relaxed, repeat the previous step of rolling and folding = Second Turn.
  5. Make two dents in the dough with your knuckle to record how many turns you have completed, then wrap and return it to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (if resting more than an hour, let dough sit out 10 minutes before rolling again).
  6. After an hour, roll and fold dough twice more = Third Turn & Fourth Turn. Rest dough in refrigerator another hour or more, then roll and fold two more times = Fifth Turn & Sixth Turn.
  7. At this point you can use the dough to make any type of pastry you wish, or divide it into portions, wrap it tightly, and freeze.

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PSA Banana Nut Oatmeal Brulee

*PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*

DO NOT COOK  OATMEAL ON HIGH POWER IN THE MICROWAVE NO MATTER WHAT THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE CARTON SAY!  DOING SO WILL RESULT IN ALL SAID OATMEAL BOILING OVER ONTO THE FLOOR OF SAID MICROWAVE LEAVING NOTHING BUT AN EMPTY BOWL AND A MESS.

Unfortunately it has taken me too long to get this into my head, but I think I’ve finally learned my lesson after three tries yesterday.  Sad, I know.

But this Banana Nut Oatmeal Brulee is so delicious, it makes it all worthwhile.  Oatmeal with bananas, walnuts, and dark brown sugar is broiled briefly to create a yummy sugar crust on top, and when you stir it up all that molasses-y goodness gets mixed in.  What a fabulous way to counteract the two sticks of butter in the brownies you made yesterday (more on that later).

Banana Nut Oatmeal Brulee

from Shortbread

serves 1

Ingredients

  • one serving of oatmeal (preferably whole or steel cut oats), prepared per package instructions*
  • 1/4 medium banana
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts, chopped (toasted if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Spoon oatmeal into ovenproof bowl.
  3. Slice banana into 1/4 inch rounds and spread on top of oatmeal. Sprinkle on walnuts. Spread brown sugar evenly over everything.
  4. Place bowl in oven and broil until sugar is melted, about 2-4 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

*If using microwave, cook on medium (50%) power, stirring halfway.

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Julie And Julia Oeufs En Cocotte

KR Oeufs en Cocotte

Last night we had a traditional Southern “vegetable plate” for dinner – collard greens, field peas, fried squash and eggplant, and pepper relish.  After informing my husband of the menu, he promptly gave me the “Where’s the beef?” look, which reminded me of this month’s Kitchen Reader‘s book selection, Julie & Julia.  In the book Julie Powell recounts her year spent cooking through Julia Child’s classic cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and blogging about it at the same time.  In the early pages of the book Julie recalls one of the first recipes she made from the book, a potato and leek soup, and how her husband Eric told her it was “Really good.  And there wasn’t even any meat in it.”  And that because he is Texan by birth “the idea of a dinner without animal flesh gets him a little panicky”.  But apparently there is no lack of meat dishes in Julia’s cookbook, with recipes ranging from Boeuf Bourguignon to Rognons deVeau (veal kidneys) so he didn’t have to worry about that part of things.

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Don’t Let The Dogs Eat The Bagels

bagels

One of our dogs loves to ‘counter-cruise’.  When no one is looking, she puts her paws up on the kitchen counter and grabs whatever has been carelessly left too close to the edge.  Once we opened a Krispy Kreme doughnut box and found it empty.  Somehow she had lifted up the top and eaten the doughnuts without even knocking it off, and carefully closed the box when she was finished.  Sneaky.

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Don’t Get Them Started Brioche French Toast

brioche-french-toast1

At the grocery store the other day I was in dire need of some windshield washer fluid, and the only kind they had said it was ‘scented’.  I wasn’t really sure how much you would be able to smell something that’s sprayed on the outside of the car, but I figured it couldn’t hurt.  Much to my amazement, I could actually smell the scent of the fluid after I used it the first time.  It was sort of nice.

Fast forward to about a month later, with the family in the car on the way home from dinner.  After hearing many large insects splatting on my windshield (you know it’s spring in the South), and having just had my car washed that day, I suggested to the husband that he spray some cleaner on it.  This is the conversation that followed:

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Inaugural Tuesdays with Dorie Blueberry Crumb Cake

blueberry crumb cake

There’s a boy in my son’s second grade class who is constantly making up stories.  And my son, bless his heart, believes every word he says.  Most recently, my son reported, this boy made up a new crayon color, sent it to Crayola, and they are going to start putting in their box of 64.

I had to explain to him that sometimes other people don’t always tell the truth.  “You mean he LIED??”, he asked, horrified.  “Well, this is more like a tall tale”, I told him.  So now he’s never sure he wants to tell me the latest from the tall tale teller, ’cause he knows I probably won’t believe him.  Bless his heart.

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Don’t Shoot The Messenger Breakfast Tart

breakfast tart
This is the time of year I begin to despise weather reporters.  All I want to hear when I watch the forecast is “Sunny, with a high of 69”, or something along those lines.  But what I get instead is “Freezing rain and snow, high 38.”  That’s when I growl and turn off the TV.

I know it’s not their fault, and it’s nothing personal, but who else can I take my frustrations out on?  I’ve had enough of putting on coats and sweaters and socks – oh, the endless socks I have to wash and sort in the winter!

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Coffee Love Yogurt Cake

yogurt-cake

I first started drinking coffee in college to help me stay awake at night so I could study longer.  I discovered, however, that it only helped me to sleep on the couch with a book in my lap longer.  I do love it still, especially the smell of freshly ground beans – I probably could just snort it right out of the coffee grinder!  (Maybe that would have worked better in college.)

I have heard all the health benefits that come from tea drinking, and I like hot tea, but it just can’t replace a fresh, hot cup of coffee in the morning.  I figure I’ll just get my ‘tea vitamins’ from ice tea.

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Super Saturday Light And Crispy Waffles

stawberrry waffles

Some Saturdays you just want to sleep in, then get up and have a big cup of coffee and lounge around reading, watching the food channel, doing some online shopping – mainly just being lazy.  These waffles are not for those Saturdays.

These waffles are for the Saturdays when you’ve had a good night’s sleep, and you wake up rested and ready to treat yourself (and the rest of your household) to some light, crispy, ready for the butter and syrup waffles.

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Snow Days Breakfast Casserole

breakfast-casserole

When I was growing up, my family lived beside my grandparents.  I had an aunt and uncle that lived about two hours away in the country.  I remember that whenever there was a big snow, though, they were always at our Grandma’s.  I really didn’t think about it much at the time, my cousins and I were having too much fun playing and sledding and being out of school.  But when I got older I realized that they must have heard the forecast and started frantically packing everyone in the car to head to Grandma’s house so they wouldn’t be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with no power, no neighbors, and worse yet, no one to play with in the snow.

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World Tour Day Six Cranberry Pecan Scones

cranberry scones

World Tour Day Six:  Great Britain.

The first time I had scones with real clotted cream and jam was in London at the hotel where we were staying.  I was very excited to sit for a proper afternoon tea and enjoy the formality of the tradition.  Even though I had eaten a nice lunch not long before, I was determined to have a pot of tea and scones while I was there, hungry or not!

I like a little tradition and I like a little formality now and then, too.  I have to say, I get a little frustrated with how casual and informal things have become.  I swear I was sitting beside a woman at the movies last night who was wearing her pajamas and bedroom slippers!  It just makes me a little uncomfortable.  I mean, if you want to watch a movie in your pj’s, get something from the movie store and stay home!  I’m really not interested in what you wear to bed.

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World Tour Day One Tattie Scones

tattie scones 2

I’ve been on a little bit of a cooking world tour lately.  Kind of like my rockin’ Rock Band 2 band, Crash Warning, with whom I’ve been traveling around the world on tour this weekend (I’m just a little bit addicted to this game, okay maybe a lot).  Probably it just has to do with the fact that I enjoy experimenting with different flavors from different cultures.  So this week I am going to write about some of the recipes from around the world that have made it onto my table recently.

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Barefoot Bloggers Easy Sticky Buns

Sticky Bun

You know how it goes.  You’ve made something really yummy and the last one is waiting at home for you after you’ve say, taken the kids to school in the wee hours of the morning, or worked all day, or worked out extra hard, etc.  Then when you finally get to the kitchen to sit down and enjoy your treat, all you find is AN EMPTY PLATE. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Martha Stewart Cheese Grits

Cheddar Grits With Roasted Vegetables and Egg

When I used to live in the “Furniture Capital of the US”, I was invited to the premiere of Martha Stewart’s furniture line at one of the showrooms there.  I’m not really sure how I ended up on the guest list, and I thought it was a joke at first, but I RSVP’d for me and my guest and my mother and I dressed up and went.  As we sat there with all the furniture buyers and sellers, we realized listening to Martha speak that she actually has a really good sense of humor.  She is actually very funny in person, something my mom and I agreed wasn’t displayed in her television shows. Continue reading

Barefoot Bloggers Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

Banana Sour Cream Pancakes

*There was no entry yesterday since high winds and rain caused a loss of cable and internet service and a tree to fall on my vehicle.  No kidding.  More on that subject tomorrow.

Today is about pancakes, one of my cooking obsessions.  I’m not sure when my obsession started, possibly when I got married and realized I would be making them every weekend forever.  Or it could have to do with my perfectionist tendencies and the fact that I can’t be satisfied with good or even great.  I need to hear “these are the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten!” Continue reading