Friday, June 24, 2011

Lots of Good Food- and the big 75!

Today was the last day of my sophomore year in high school!  It's a relief to done with finals and the stress of the end of the year, especially after everything that happened last weekend.  A lot of food came out of the kitchen this week, most of it good :)  And I reached my goal of 75 new recipes!

On Wednesday tried a recipe from a Food Network Magazine, and it was pretty good.  A simple chocolate syrup goes into some milk with a pinch of salt for salted chocolate milk!

Salted Chocolate Milk

from Food Network

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cold milk

For the syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let cool.
Add 1 1/2 cups cold milk to about 2 1/2 Tbsp syrup, and add a generous pinch of salt.  Stir and enjoy!

I wanted to do something homemade for my teachers, and cookies seemed like the obvious choice- I decided on Almond Butter Snickerdoodles, and they were a huge hit! My precalculus teacher told me (after the Better-Than-Crack Brownies) that I am an amazing cook, and it really made my day to have someone say that to me, especially someone I really like and respect.  She liked these cookies too, and I was more than pleased with how they turned out!

Almond Butter Snickerdoodles

These were originally in Cooking Light, but I got the recipe from Handle the Heat (slightly adapted)

Makes 2 dozen

1 cup packed brown sugar
3 oz 1/3-less fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 Tbsp smooth almond butter
1 tsp lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Place first four ingredients in a mixer and beat on high speed until well combined.  Add lemon rind, vanilla, and egg yolks, and beat until well mixed.
3. Combine flours, baking soda, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and salt.  Add to butter mixture and beat at low speed until combined.  Combine the remaining cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
4. Using your hands, roll balls of dough slightly smaller than golf balls and roll in cinnamon sugar.  Place on baking sheet.  Bake 6 minutes and then flatten with a spatula.  Bake another 6 minutes and then let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack.

These cookies aren't really crispy, but it you want a softer cookie, take them out of the oven after 5 minutes since they've been flattened.

                                                          Ready to go into the oven...


It's so easy to make these guys pretty, and the cinnamon sugar really makes the crinkled top pop :)
And after making these yesterday and doubling the recipe, I was sure to make another batch today!

I also made a chocolate chip banana bread yesterday that was really good- it might have turned out perfect if I had followed the recipe to the letter but I made a few changes, swapping half the sugar for brown sugar and using unsweetened applesauce instead of oil.  If you want the recipe, get it here:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Rachael Ray)

It's not super moist, but it still tastes great!

The flop of the week: vanilla cupcakes.  After school today a bunch of us went out for lunch, to a little place called Kate's that serves Greek and American food.  I had the gyros, and I really enjoyed it.  (I can't wait to go back for the falafel gyros!)  Anyway, my friend Rachel was talking about watching a thriller, and since it sounded like a good way to send out the school year we decided to make some cupcakes and choose a thriller to watch.  She made a delicious, creamy chocolate buttercream frosting and I took on the vanilla cupcakes. The first recipe I tried fell completely flat.  I tossed them and started over, with a recipe that worked much better:

Simple Vanilla Cupcakes

from food(dot)com

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

(This is the original recipe- I halved it and we got about nine cupcakes.)

Preheat oven to 375 and line a muffin tray (or two) with liners.
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs (one at a time if following original recipe)
Combine flour, slat, and baking powder and add to butter mixture, alternating with milk.  Stir in vanilla.
Divide among muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.

I didn't take much time or effort making mine pretty, but it was delicious.  We didn't wait for the cupcakes to cool, so the frosting melted a bit :)

I went out for dinner this evening with Rachel and her parents, to a place on the waterfront called Lombardi's.  I am still stuffed...the food was delicious and the dinner portions were perfect- the dessert portions were generous :)  I can't recall the name of my dish (something in Italian), but it was basically wide egg noodles with rosemary and a roasted tomato sauce and lamb meatballs.  For dessert we each had a rhubarb apple crisp topped with vanilla gelato.  So.  Good.  I'm wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants and feeling completely satisfied.  Awesome way to send out the year and celebrate a Friday :)

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