Sunday, December 30, 2012

Soft & Scrumptious Snickerdoodles



I made these quick and tasty snickerdoodles for my family as a Christmas present, and I just made them again last night. They've been a huge hit in our household, and I bet you'll love them, too! They're soft, chewy, and bursting with cinnamon goodness. Here's the recipe.

Soft & Scrumptious Snickerdoodles

Makes: 24 cookies

Ingredients:

1 stick butter (softened)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


2. Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.

3. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl.

4. Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.

5. Mix 3 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp cinnamon in a small bowl.

6. Roll dough into one-inch balls.

7. Roll each ball of dough around in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Be sure to coat the entire surface of each ball!

8. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

9. Remove from cookie sheet with a spatula immediately after baking.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of Food.com.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dutch Oven Biscuits

Picture coming soon.

I just received a beautiful 6.5-quart Tratmontina Dutch oven for my birthday on Thursday, and the first thing I made in it were these delicate, delicious Dutch oven biscuits. You can make as many or as few as you like by adjusting the recipe and stacking the biscuits on top of one another before baking. I made a test batch yesterday, and today I will be making several dozen biscuits for a family dinner. The only thing I would do differently is add the melted butter after each layer of biscuits, which I did not do the first time. Here's the recipe.

Dutch Oven Biscuits

Makes: approximately 3 dozen

Ingredients:

4 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp active-dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
about 1/3 cup melted butter

Directions:

1. Grease Dutch oven using 4 teaspoons of softened butter, cooking spray, or lard. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and set greased Dutch oven inside. In medium bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in honey, oil, and buttermilk.

3. In stand mixer bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add wet ingredients and mix on medium-high speed for 5 minutes to form ball. Turn out onto floured surface and knead lightly for 2 minutes.

4. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness and use rim of drinking glass or round cookie cutter to cut into small biscuits, approximately 2 inches in diameter.

5. Remove Dutch oven from conventional oven and place biscuits inside, brushing with melted butter. Continue layering biscuits and butter until there are no more biscuits, or until Dutch oven is full.

6. Bake, uncovered, for 12-15 minutes, checking for doneness after 10 minutes.

7. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipes adapted from Grit.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

We have a QR Code!

Great news! Stacey's Kitchen finally has a QR code! Share it with friends, post it online, hand it out to strangers on the street (OK, maybe not that one), but be sure to pass it on if you like Stacey's Kitchen!

Monday, August 20, 2012

KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer


As I promised in an earlier post, here is my review of my new KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer, which I purchase for $289 on Amazon.com in Onyx Black.

The KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer is a wonderful appliance that can do nearly any kitchen task you can think of with the wide assortment of nifty attachments available for it. From mixing to making pasta and everything in between, this mixer is the perfect addition to any kitchen. I have used it to mix and knead bread dough and to make cookie dough so far, but I'll be using it for many more things in the coming weeks. This mixer is any cook's dream come true!

In addition to it's amazing variety of uses, the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer is sleek and stylish, so there's no need to try to shove it into a cabinet to hide it out of sight when guests come over. Since it comes in dozens of beautiful colors, from neutral white to bright red, you'll be sure to find one that complements your kitchen perfectly. The mixer is heavy at nearly 25 pounds, but all that bulk is neatly put together into a sleek, sturdily-built appliance. The paint doesn't chip off easily, and the mixer is easy to wipe off. The outlet where you attach some of the bigger attachments is cleverly hidden with a removable silver knob featuring the KitchenAid logo. The entire mixer has a beautiful design that is hard to explain in terms other than "absolutely beautiful." Just take a look at any picture of these mixers to see how KitchenAid has mastered the art of appliance design.

The mixer does its job much quicker than any hand mixer could ever do. Give it 30 seconds or so, and the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer can whip up the perfect cake batter or cookie dough. Allow it 10 minutes on speed 6 with the dough hook and you will have a nicely kneaded mound of dough for delicious American Sandwich Bread, ready for rising without the need to knead by hand.

The KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer's handy versatility, sleek design, and incredible speed all make it the best choice for anyone who wants to have an easier time making their favorite recipes, from pasta to pumpkin bread, without the work, mess, or hassle of manual labor. I highly recommend spending the $300-$400 to get this wonderful appliance, because it will pay for itself time and time again. This mixer will be a cherished possession for you and your entire family for years to come.

Have any questions about the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer not answered in the post above? Just leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!

Enjoy!
Stacey

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Basic Yellow Cake



I was in the mood to bake a nice cake today as a welcome-home present for my dad, who has been on a business trip for a few days, but we only had two eggs on hand. After a few minutes of searching for a recipe that only called for two eggs, I found this recipe for a simple yellow cake. They work very well for layering. They turned out nicely, but be sure to use parchment or wax paper to avoid sticking. Also, if you've never made a cake from scratch before, be warned that they do taste quite different from cakes made from a boxed mix. That's not to say that made-from-scratch cakes are bad by any means, it's just a matter of personal preference.

Basic Yellow Cake

Makes: two 8-inch round cakes

Ingredients:

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup (14 tsp.) softened butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with waxed paper or parchment paper.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed.

4. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating for one minute.

5. Spread batter evenly in prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely.

6. Layer, fill, and frost as desired.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of Wilton.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ciabatta



This Italian ciabatta bread goes great with any pasta dish! It's amazing dipped in olive oil with a bit of black pepper like they do at some Italian restaurants such as Romano's Macaroni Grill. Be very careful with this recipe as a 450 degree oven is extremely hot and steamy, so use caution to avoid getting burned. Also, I found that the parchment paper sticks to the bread dough and bakes into it, so you may need to cut off the bottom crust of the finished product. I'm going to be working on finding a better technique that won't stick to either the baking stone or the bread soon, and I'll be sure to post an update as soon as I find one! I used an overturned baking sheet instead of an actual baking stone, however, so maybe that's the problem. If you own a baking stone and try this recipe, let me know in the comments what you find!

Notes: Two tablespoons of nonfat milk powder can be used in place of the liquid milk; increase the amount of water in the dough to 1 cup. As you make this bread, keep in mind that the dough is wet and very sticky. The key to manipulating it is working quickly and gently; rough handling will result in flat, tough loaves. When possible, use a large rubber spatula or bowl scraper to move the dough. If you have to use your hands, make sure they are well floured. Because the dough is so sticky, it must be prepared in a stand mixer. If you don’t have a baking stone, bake the bread on an overturned and preheated rimmed baking sheet set on the lowest oven rack. The bread will keep for up to 2 days, well wrapped and stored at room temperature. To recrisp the crust, place the unwrapped bread in a 450-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes. The bread will keep frozen for several months wrapped in foil and placed in a large zipper-lock bag. Thaw the bread at room temperature and recrisp using the instructions above.

Ciabatta

Makes: 2 loaves

Ingredients:

Biga:
1/8 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

Dough:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)

Directions:

1. For the biga: Combine flour, yeast, and water in medium bowl and stir with wooden spoon until uniform mass forms, about 1 minute. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature (about 70 degrees) overnight (at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours).

2. For the dough: Place biga and dough ingredients in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on lowest speed until roughly combined and shaggy dough forms, about 1 minute; scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Continue mixing on medium-low speed until dough becomes uniform mass that collects on paddle and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 6 minutes. Change to dough hook and knead bread on medium speed until smooth and shiny (dough will be very sticky), about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. 

3. Spray rubber spatula or bowl scraper with nonstick cooking spray; fold partially risen dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees; fold again. Turn bowl and fold dough six more times (total of eight turns). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat folding, replace plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes longer. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, place baking stone on rack, and heat oven to 450 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

While on vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in early July, I ate dinner at an adorable little Italian restaurant called Nona's. I ordered pasta aglio e olio (pasta with garlic and oil) for the first time and can honestly say that it was the best pasta dish I've had in my entire life. A few weeks after coming home and forgetting all about the meal, I came across a recipe for the exact same thing online! I made it for dinner for my family and I, along with some homemade ciabatta (recipe coming soon), and we all loved it! Here's the recipe.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Ingredients:

1 pound spaghetti
Table salt
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic (about 30 small, 20 medium, 10 large, or 5 extra-large cloves from 1 or 2 heads)
3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated (optional)

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof serving bowl on rack and heat oven to 200 degrees F. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add pasta and 1 1/2 tsp. table salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta.

2. While water is heating, combine 3 tbsp. olive oil, 3 tbsp. garlic, and 1/2 tsp. table salt or sea salt flakes in heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 10 to 12 minutes. Off heat, add remaining tablespoon raw garlic, crushed red pepper, parsley, lemon juice, and 2 tbsp. pasta cooking water to skillet and stir well to keep garlic from clumping.

3. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl (the one you put in the oven); add remaining 3 tbsp. olive oil and remaining reserved pasta cooking water and toss to coat. Add garlic mixture and 3/4 tsp. table salt (or 1 tsp. sea salt flakes) to pasta; toss well to combine. Serve immediately, sprinkling individual bowls with portion of grated Parmesan, if desired.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Picture coming soon.

My family has always only used one homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I've never been that fond of the crisp, dry cookies it produced. After months of searching for a better, chewing recipe, I have finally found the perfect chocolate chip cookies! Chewy, thick, and completely delicious, these cookies are sure to be a hit!


Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips. Dough will be darker than what most chocolate chip recipes produce.

3. Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball.

*The following step is OPTIONAL. It just makes the cookies look nicer.*
Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface.

4. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted.

5. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Easy Sugar Cookies



These simple, quick sugar cookies are perfect for any occasion. Dress them up with frosting and sprinkles, or leave them plain for a quick dose of deliciousness. They're soft, flavorful, and very quick to cook up, so try them out!


Easy Sugar Cookies

Makes: 30 cookies
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup softened butter (It is very important to have the butter completely softened before starting in order to have soft cookies in the end. You can speed up the softening process by putting the butter in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until it's soft.)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded tablespoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet for two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com.

American Sandwich Bread




The sweet smell of baking bread is one of the best fragrances I know of. Experience the great-smelling and great-tasting wonder of baking your own homemade bread with this amazing recipe. It happens to be by far the best bread I've ever tasted!


American Sandwich Bread

Makes: one 9-inch loaf
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes plus cooling time

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk
1/3 cup water
4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) melted butter
3 tbsp. honey
3 3/4 cups bread flour, plus extra for the counter
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant or rapid-rise yeast
2 tsp. salt

Directions:

1. Heat the milk and water in a small saucepan until the temperature reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat. Pour the melted butter and honey into the saucepan and stir well. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt together in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.

2. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  If, after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tsp. at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

3. Rub a teaspoonful of flour around in your hands in order to avoid the dough sticking to your hands. Trust me, that really helps! Place the dough onto a clean counter and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and gentry press it into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam-side down into a 9-inch loaf pan, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size and springs back slowly when indented with a finger, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

5. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Brush the loaf with the remaining 1 tbsp. butter. Set the loaf on the oven rack and fill another empty loaf pan with the boiling water. Place this loaf pan next to the first. Bake until golden, 40 minutes. Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature before slicing, about 2 hours.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mimi's Cafe Buttermilk Spice Muffins



If you've ever tasted one of Mimi's Cafe's buttermilk spice muffins, you know how delicious they are. Now you can make these bold, spiced muffins whenever you want. You'll be able to enjoy them fresh out of the oven with the satisfaction of knowing you've made them yourself. Best part? You'll be saving money, too!


Mimi's Cafe Buttermilk Spice Muffins

Serves: 12
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:

Muffin Batter-
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp. buttermilk

Nut Topping (optional)-
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and the butter together with a stand mixer. I recommend the KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Series, which I just got and absolutely love! I'll be posting a review on it very soon.

2. When they are thoroughly mixed, add eggs and beat one more minute.

3. Sift the flour into a separate bowl, together with the baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

4. Add the flour and the buttermilk to the first mixture, and mix at low speed until smooth.

5. Make the nut topping: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

6. Grease muffin tin with butter or margarine. You can also use paper baking cups. Fill each cup 3/4 full of batter. Add a full, rounded tablespoon of nut topping on top of each muffin cup of batter. Bake immediately or the topping will sink to the bottom.

Enjoy!
Stacey


Recipe courtesy of Mimi's Cafe.