Category Archives: my first cookbook

Banana Coconut Scones

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In my newbie travels as a blogger, I’ve come across some really amazing blogs (and some not so amazing, but I digress…).  Edibles & Travels is one of my new faves (I envy the peaks on her muffins 😉 ), and she recently posted a recipe for Banana Coconut Muffins.  Had a nice Caribbean-sounding vibe, brought be back to my honeymoon…you get my drift.  So I thought, hey, I have coconut.  I have a borderline overly ripe banana that’s looking lonely!  And thus, these Banana Coconut Scones were born.  If anyone needs me, I’ll be sipping a Rum Punch, my toes in the sand, enjoying a scone – well maybe not really, but a girl can dream, right?!? 🙂

Banana Coconut Scones

The Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cold

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sweetened coconut (plus additional for garnish)

1 ripe banana, mashed

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2.  Place the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Work the butter into the flour with your hands until the butter disappears into the flour and it yellows a bit.

4.  Add the honey, milk, and egg to the flour mixture and stir until mixed well.  Add the coconut and mashed banana and mix again until all incorporated.

5.  Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet about an inch apart.  Sprinkle with a little additional coconut, if desired.

6.  Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the scones are slightly golden on top.

7.  Remove the scones and place them on a cooling rack.  They are best when served warm and drizzled with a little honey.  Yum, yum 🙂

Honey Lemon Bars

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Honey Lemon Bars

I’m a huge fan of anything lemon when it comes to baking.  These are amazing, and super simple to put together.  The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness without being overpowering.  A perfectly light, warm-weather dessert 🙂

honey lemon bars

 

The Recipe:

Dough:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest (my addition, but a little more lemon flavor never hurts in my opinion!!)

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

The Process:

1.  Heat oven to 350 F (325 F if using glass or dark metal pans)

2.  To make the dough, place the flour and the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Cut the cold butter into small chunks and add to the flour mixture.  Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until all the butter disappears and the dough starts to hold together a bit.

4.  Place the dough in an 8″x8″ baking pan and press into the bottom in an even layer.

5.  Place in oven for approximately 10-12 minutes to bake.

6.  While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.  Break the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the honey and lemon juice.  Whisk together until completely blended.  Add the flour and baking powder and whisk again until smooth.

7.  Remove crust from the oven and pour the lemon filling into the pan.

8.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  The filling should not move when you slightly shake the pan.  If it does, place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.

9.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow 10 minutes for cooling before cutting into squares.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy the lemony goodness!

Apple Almond Tea Cake

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Apple Almond Tea Cake

I couldn’t wait to get cracking in the kitchen after receiving the new book (My First Baking Book).  So here’s the first round…Apple Almond Tea Cake.  Super good.  Nice dense cake with just a touch of sweetness.  Love the flavor (and slight crunch) from the sliced almonds in the cake, and the apples on top pair perfectly of course.  Top it all off with an apricot glaze, and you have the perfect brunch (or breakfast…or dessert…) snack!

apple almond tea cake

The Recipe:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature (plus extra for buttering the pan)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup sliced almonds

2 medium apples

1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Glaze:

3 tablespoons apricot jam

1 tablespoon water

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F (325 F if using a glass or dark pan).

2.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan.

3.  Put the flour, baking powder and nutmeg in a bowl and stir to combine.

4.  Place the 1/2 cup of butter and the granulated sugar in the mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy (around 4 minutes).

5.  Break the eggs into the bowl and beat again until blended.

6.  Add the flour mixture and mix at low speed until smooth.

7.  Pour in the milk and mix again.

8.  Stir the sliced almonds into the batter until combined.

9.  Pour the batter into the greased 9×13 baking pan and spread evenly.

10.  Peel and core the apples.  Cut in half and then cut the halves into thin, even slices.

11.  Here’s where I took a detour from the original recipe…I placed the apple slices in a bowl and tossed them with a squeeze of lemon, the brown sugar and cinnamon.  The original recipe has you place the apples on top of the batter and then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over.  I wanted a more “even” coating, but you can choose your method 🙂

12.  Place the apple slices in 3 long lines, overlapping, on top of the batter down the length of the pan (makes for easier cutting this way).

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13.  Place in oven and bake until the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 50 minutes (Again, with my oven it was close to 35 minutes, so I would check yours frequently after 35).

14.  Remove from oven and while cake is cooling prepare the apricot glaze.

15.  Place the jam in a saucepan and add the water, stir over medium heat until the jam melts and begins to bubble.

16.  Using a pastry brush (or spoon), spread the glaze over the top of the cake.  Cut into squares and marvel in the apple-y goodness!

Breakfast Sausage Pockets

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I’m not going to lie, I’m not sure I would ever make these again.  Might partially be me though, I’m not a huge fan of that much bread for breakfast (how un-American of me, I know 😉 )  The dough almost tastes biscuit-like, so it’s a nice compliment to the sausage.  I would say they might take on a new life if some herbs like rosemary or thyme were added to the dough.  So maybe there will be a round 2 after all…

breakfast sausage pockets

The Recipe (makes 8 sausage pockets):

2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1/2 cup for rolling)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter (the original recipe calls for room temperature, I always find i prefer to work with cold butter in a dough to up the flakiness factor)

2/3 cup milk

2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

8 breakfast sausage links (the recipe doesn’t state whether you need to use fully cooked, I erred on the side of caution and did)

The Process:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 F

2.  Place 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and the salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

3.  Add the butter (if using cold, cut into small pieces to make it easier to mix in).  Using your fingers (again, why I love this cookbook 😉 ) rub the butter into the dough until it disappears.  The mixture will appear somewhat lumpy.

4.  Add the milk and stir until the dough is thick and blended.

5.  Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface.  Scoop out the dough from the bowl and place on floured work surface.  Sprinkle top of dough with a  little more flour.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about 1/4″ thick.

6.  Using a 4″-6″ biscuit cutter (or wide mouth glass if you don’t have one), cut as many circles as you can out of the dough.  Flatten the scraps and re-roll to make the remaining dough circles.  You should have 8 total in the end.

7.  Break the egg into the bowl and add the 1 tablespoon of water.  Gently beat with a fork to combine.

8.  Place 1 breakfast sausage link in the center of each circle and sprinkle a little cheese over top.  Fold the dough circle over the sausage and press the edges together to seal.

9.  Place the sausage pockets on a cookie sheet.  Brush the tops with the egg wash.  Place cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes (I found I only needed 20 minutes, but you know my oven issues…)

10.  When the tops are golden brown, remove pockets and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I’m so excited…

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And I just can’t hide it…Ok, enough of that.  I am pretty excited today though – look what came in the mail!

My first baking book

I was doing some digging on the interwebs to see if the author of the My First Cookbook was still writing.  And although she’s not (or that I could find anyway), I did discover that she made a second book called My First Baking Book a few years later.  I skimmed through the recipes and they sound just as amazing (if not more!)  So now my quest carries on!  I don’t know if I can wait till the end of the year to finish the other one and then start on this one, so there might be a smattering of both all year 🙂  Can you sense my excitement?!?

Cheers everyone!

Dreamy Hot Chocolate

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Hot chocolate can’t be beat – no matter what the temperature is outside.  I’ll admit, I’m not one for making it from scratch too often (the convenience of those little packages calls to me…).  This recipe is super simple and the method is pretty smart.  The touch of honey and cinnamon make it extra tasty.  Will definitely be making this often!  Warm and fuzzy thoughts to all! 🙂

hot chocolate cinnamon

The Recipe (makes 4 cups):

6 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

8 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons honey

4 cups milk

The Process:

1.  Measure 1-1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon honey into 4 individual mugs.  Stir with a spoon to make a paste.  Add 1 tablespoon milk into each mug and stir until dissolved.

2.  Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until the milk begins to steam and you can see tiny bubbles form at the sides of the pan.  Remove from heat.

3.  Ladle the warm milk into the mugs (about 1 cup each) and stir.  Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Apple Spritzer

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I live in the Southwest – it’s in the upper 80’s already (and has been for weeks, sigh…)  So while most of you are still shoveling your driveway, we’re trying to find ways to stay cool.  And a bubbly, ice cold drink on  a hot day is never a bad thing.

Apple spritzer

The Recipe (makes 4 drinks):

1 small apple

Ice cubes

4 cups apple juice

2 cups club soda or seltzer water

The Process:

1.  Rinse the apples, core and cut into slices.

2.  Place several ice cubes in each glass.  Pour 1 cup of apple juice and 1/2 cup soda water into each glass.

3.  Garnish with apple slices, sip, and ahhh… 🙂

Fruit Skewers (Fruit on a Stick) with Yogurt-Coconut Dip

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Fruit Skewers (Fruit on a Stick) with Yogurt-Coconut Dip

Everything is more fun on a stick – it’s true, you know it.  This makes a great after-school snack, or even breakfast.  The dip is killer, who would have thought something as simple as combining yogurt and a little coconut could make fruit even more magical?

Fruit skewer fruit on a stick

The Recipe (I’m listing the original suggestions from the book, use whatever you have on hand to create your skewers!  I ended up using my kid’s favorites – strawberries, watermelon, pineapple and banana):

2 apples

1 banana

10 grapes

10 strawberries

2 tangerines

1 cup flavored yogurt of your choice

1/4 cup shredded coconut

The Process:

1.  Rinse, peel (if necessary), and dry all fruit.

2.  Cut all fruit into medium sized chunks.

3.  Push cut fruit pieces onto wooded skewers.

4.  Pour the yogurt into a small bowl and add coconut.  Stir until incorporated.  Serve alongside fruit skewers or pour a little over each skewer before serving.

(Not quite) Teddy Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

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(Not quite) Teddy Bear Chocolate Chip Cookies

I take pride in my chocolate chip cookies.  I have a tried and true recipe I’ve been using for years and have “perfected”.  But, I’m allowing this blogging experience to take me out of my culinary box, so I gave this recipe a go.  Plus, I thought my kid would get a kick out of teddy bear shaped cookies, and I figured, how hard could that be?  Man was I wrong… the day will go down in history as the “Amorphous Blob Cookie Disaster of 2013”.  I dried my chocolate stained tears and sheepishly reached for my cookie dough scoop.

The flavor of the cookie is actually really good.  Definitely a more crisp, versus chewy cookie.  Worth a try in my opinion – and maybe you’ll have better luck with attempting a shape (and if you do have success and would like to rub salt into my wound and post it here, I’ll understand…)  Good news is, a chocolate chip cookie is never a bad thing to have around, no matter what it looks like!

chocolate chip cookie

The Recipe:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

The Process:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Place the flour and baking soda in a bowl and mix.

3.  Place the butter, shortening, and sugars in a separate mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes until combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another 2 minutes until light and fluffy.

4.  Break the egg into the bowl and add the vanilla.  Mix at medium speed for about 1 minute.

5.  Add about half the flour mixture and blend at low speed until incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until well blended.

6.  Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix at lowest speed until evenly distributed in the batter.

7.  Attempt to make teddy bear shapes… or give up and spoon tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet.

8.  Bake at 350 F for about 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown.

9.  Remove and let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack.

Apple Pizza

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This cookbook is pretty brilliant in my opinion.  This recipe is apple pie, meets turnover, meets yum.  Great option if you don’t feel like making an entire apple pie, but are still craving some home baked goodness.  It disappeared super fast in our house!

apple pizza

The Recipe (makes four 6-inch pizzas):

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold water

3 medium sized apples (recommend Gala or Fuji)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

The Process:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 F

2.  Place the flour and the butter in a large mixing bowl.  Using your fingers (yay!) rub the butter into the flour until it almost disappears and the flour becomes a little yellow.

3.  Add 3 tablespoons of sugar and the salt to the flour.  Blend with your hands.  Pour in the cold water and blend with your hands until the dough holds together in one clump (add a little water at a time if you need until the dough comes together).  Sprinkle a clean work surface with a little flour.

4.  Knead the dough for around 5 minutes until soft and smooth.

5.  Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.  Using a rolling pin, roll 1 piece about 1/4″ thick and about 6″ in diameter.  Place the pizzas on a cookie sheet.

6.  Core the apple and peel (I actually left the peel on my apples for a little more “rustic” texture).  Slice apple in half, and then slice the halves into thin slices.

7.  Place the apple slices in a bowl and sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon of sugar and cinnamon.  Toss to coat evenly.  Arrange the apple slices on each circle of dough on the cookie sheet.

8.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.  The edges should be slightly golden.

9.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and consume!