Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chocolate Chai Quick Bread

Many things have kept me from baking or cooking anything new for the past week or so. However I managed to get in the kitchen today and made a wonderful quick bread. A friend sent me a cooking magazine back in October and I wanted to make this right away. Well one thing lead to another and I forgot about it. When I received the new Taste of Home magazine I saw the same recipe and wasted no time in making it. I'm so glad I did because this quick bread is a real winner. It fills your home with the most wonderful scent and the taste is so good. It's not over the top sweet,the texture is light and airy and it won rave reviews from the men in the house. If you don't have Chai instant tea latte mix don't let that stop you. I don't have one either but the recipe came with an alternative spice blend you can make. You can make these loaves in several ways. The original recipe calls for you to put it into 3 mini loaves or you have the option of making it into one 9X5 inch loaf. Living in the netherlands I have yet to find that such size. Instead I used a 10 inch loaf pan and it worked beautifully. If I were going to share this bread with someone else then I would have used my mini loaf pan.
Chocolate Chai Quick Bread
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 cup water
2 (1ounce) squares bittersweet or semi sweet baking chocolate
1 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter;softened
2 Eggs
1 tspn. Vanilla
1/2 cup Sour Cream
3 TBLSPNS instant Chai tea latte mix(spice blend listed below)
1 tspn. Baking Soda
1/2 tspn. Salt

1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 TBLSPN Butter;softened
3 TBLSPN instant Chai tea latte mix
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
4-5 tspn. Milk

** Chai Spice Blend**
2 tspn. Ground Cinnamom
1 tspn. Ground Ginger
1/4 tspn. Ground Cloves.
Mix together and use 2 1/4 tspn. in bread mix and 1 tspn in glaze.

Heat oven to 350 degrees or 180 celcius. Grease bottom only of 3 (5 3/4 X 3 inch) mini loaf pans OR 1 9X5inch loaf pan OR 1 10inch loaf pan. Combine water and baking chocolate in pan and cook over low heat until melted;stirring often. Remove from heat;cool to room temperature. Combine brown sugar,butter,eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat on medium speed until creamy.Add chocolate mixture and sour cream. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low and add all remaining bread ingredients. Beat until mixture is smooth. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 30-40mins or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely. ** If using glass or dark pans,reduce heat by 25 degrees and check for donesness at minimum bake time. If using a 9X5 loaf pan bake for 45-50 mins. If using 10 inch loaf pan bake for 45 mins.
Combine all glaze ingredients and 2 teaspoons milk. Beat at medium speed and add remaining milk to your desired spreading consistency. Glaze cooled bread.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines Cookies

I'm not the type of person who gets all mushy about Valentines Day..I never have been. However I will use an excuse to bust out my Lemon sugar Cookies recipe. I used a simple frosting made with raspberry extract,tinted the frosting pink and pulled out a small amount and tinted it red. I put the pink on and then dropped red dots all over and swirled the design with a toothpick. I'm going to serve these tonight after dinner since my husband has to work on valentines day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Frosted Cocoa Cookies

Every year in the netherlands you have a car inspection. We had ours on tuesday and I knew it was going to be painful. Taking your car in is like going to the dentist: It's going to be painful,expensive and will leave a nasty taste in your mouth. So to help with what I knew was ahead for my husband and I, I whipped up some GREAT cookies. These are almost cake like and they go great with a cup of coffee. The subtle hint of almond flavoring in the frosting really sets of the taste of the chocolate. You can either drizzle the frosting over the cookies or like I did and simply dip the tops into the chocolate. The frosting will harden a bit wich makes transporting them easy.
As for the car inspection? yep it was a painful one for sure.
Frosted Cocoa Cookies
1 cup shortening or Butter (I used butter)
2 cups Sugar
4 Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla
3 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Baking Cocoa
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Salt
1/3 cup Butter; Softened
3 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup Baking Cocoa
1/4 tsp. Almond Extract
3-4 TBLSPN. Milk..or enough to make desired consistency
Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. In a large bowl cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time,beating well after each one. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour,cocoa,baking soda and salt;gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Roll into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 13-16 mins or until set. Remove and cool on wire racks. 3 1/2 dozen. For frosting,in a bowl combine the butter,powdered sugar,cocoa and extract. Add enough milk to achieve desired consistency. I think I ended up using 6 or 7 tablespoons. Either drizzel chocolate over the cookies or dip the tops into the frosting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Homemade BBQ Sauce

There is something seriously lacking in Europe and it's decent bbq sauce. I have boughten so many different bottles in the netherlands aswell as Germany and every single one of them was beyond foul. The sauce isnt even close to what I am used to..not even in the same ballpark. Germany has the Heinz products but even those are horrible. It made me remember back when my husband spotted his favorite beer they make here in an american store. When he took his first sip he got the most awful look on his face. Although it was made right here in the netherlands they altered the alcohol level and overall taste to suit the american taste. It's the same with the Heinz products. I love the american version and hate the european. Like always, I set out to look up homemade versions of it online. I used a recipe that just happend to have everything I needed and tweaked it to suit our taste. I almost didn't like this at first but when it sat for awhile the flavors blended really nicely and now I love it. I'm going to keep hunting though for the perfect one. I plan to do a ton of grilling this summer and need a perfect sauce to go along with it.
Basic Homemade BBQ Sauce
1 cup Ketchup
1 TBLSPN Mustard
3 TBLSPN Worcestershire Sauce
2 TBLSPN Vinegar
1 TBLSPN Lemon Juice
3 TBLSPN Brown Sugar
Black Pepper to taste
Honey to taste..I used about 2 globs of it
Liquid Smoke to taste..I used 1 tablespoon
I put everything in a bowl and quickly mixed it up. I then poured it into a a medium sauce pan and slowly brought it to a boil. I let is simmer for about 5 mins and it became very silky and thick. I cooled it down and poured it into a plastic container. Later that night I made dipped chicken strips and spooned some of the sauce over the top. Everyone loved it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Deep Dish Pizza

Have you ever had a cooking slump that when you made any type of new recipe it just turned out bad? Now I dont honestly believe the recipe was bad,it was just bad in the sense it wasn't something we liked enough to want to make again. I've been having that issue lately. Then you combine that with getting over a stomach virus and anything having to do with food just was not appealing. I finally found a winner though. I made Southern Plate's Deep Dish Pizza lastnight and it was a hit all around. The only mistake I made was using pasta sauce instead of pizza. I couldnt find any in the store so I went with what I had. We still got the taste of what it should have been and minus that stupid mistake it would have been that much better. I really love this and plan to make it again very soon with pizza sauce. If you have a moment you should check her blog out. I just love reading all the stories that accompany her recipes.
Deep Dish Pizza
2 lbs Ground Beef(can use 1 lb ground sausage in place of 1 lb of beef)
1 medium Onion chopped(I added this too..Im so proud of myself)
1 cup Flour
15 ounce jar Pizza Sauce(please dont use pasta like I did)
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese;shredded
8 oz Mozzarella(I used alot more)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
2 Eggs
2 TBLSP Italian Seasoning
Add ins;mushrooms,pepperoni,peppers,olives..watver u like on your pizza
Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Brown beef,onion and add ins;drain well. Add seasoning,pizza sauce and stir well. Grease a 13X9 pan and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over bottom. Spoon meat mixture over cheese. In a bowl combine the flour,eggs,milk,oil and salt; pour over meat mixture and top with parmesan cheese. Bake 30mins.