Lemon basil cookies for the end of summer….flowers for the beginning of fall

I’ll be honest, the only reason why I saved this recipe was because sometimes I end up with an overwhelming amount of basil from the farm share.  That being said, this recipe way exceeded my expectations.  These are delicious.  Kind of a sweet and savory mixture which was really unique.  If you have any basil left over from the summer, consider making these today.  Enjoy!  And thanks for reading.

Ingredients
1 stick of butter, room temp.
6 oz. (3/4 cup, 1 tbsp) sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped basil
7 oz. (1 3/4 cup) flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

(note: I’ve read that weight measurements tend to result in better tasting baked goods.  I don’t know how true that is, but for this recipe, the amounts for sugar and flour were kind of weird, so I did weigh them out)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the egg, vanilla, lemon zest and basil.

3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.

4. Spoon dough onto a lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for about 8 to 12 minutes.

Source: Branny Boils Over

Other summer news:  Look at this fun yellow watermelon I ended up with!  Not as strong tasting as a red watermelon, but a little bit sweeter.

And finally, I realize tomorrow is October, which means it is definitely fall by now.  Here is a picture of the cat attacking my fall tablescape.    I don’t think Sandra Lee would approve.

Gougéres

I have had my eyes on making these guys for the longest time.  The one thing keeping me back was that they called for Gruyere cheese, which is not the cheapest cheese at my local Giant.  It took a trip to the brand new Wegmans in Columbia with my friend Betsy for me to make the splurge.  I bought the cheese, went to see Magic Mike, and then made these little cheese puffs when I came home from the movie, I didn’t want to wait any longer.  I know that most people don’t start a baking project at 10pm, but I like to think of it as one of my secret single behaviors, like Carrie Bradshaw would say.  I don’t think I could get away with that behavior once I don’t live alone.  At least the cat is ok with it.

Enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
5 large eggs, room temp.
1 1/2 cup grated Gruyere

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, water and butter to boil.  Once it is boiling, add all of the flour and lower the heat.

2. Begin stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon.  It will begin to come together as dough.  Keep stirring for another minute, until the dough is very smooth.

3. Turn the heat off and put the dough into a sturdy bowl.  Let the dough rest for a minute, then add the eggs one at the time.  Stir vigorously between each addition and make sure that each egg is incorporated before you add the next.  The dough will look super wet and like it is breaking apart.  Just keep stirring and it’ll be ok.

4. Once all the eggs are added, stir in the grated cheese.  As soon as it is incorporated, you have to spoon out the dough.   Spoon out about 1 tablespoon of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.  Leave about 2 inches in between each scoop.

5. Put into the oven, turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for 12 minutes.  Then rotate the cookie sheets and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool before serving.

Freezing Directions: If you don’t want to bake them all at once, they freeze really well.  Just scoop them out and put a baking sheet into the freezer for a little bit.  When they are frozen, put into a plastic bag and keep in the freeze (I actually froze that above tray).

Source: Dori Greenspan’s Around My French Table

Strawberry Bruschetta

Spring time is in full force and summer is coming soon.  And when I think of summer, I think of ripe, delicious strawberries.  I made this last summer for a potluck and I think it was enjoyed all around.  Looking forward to when it makes an appearance this year!  Enjoy.  And thanks for reading.

Directions
1. Cut up one cup of strawberries.  Mix in one tablespoon of sugar, cover, and let sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

2. In the meantime, slice a long baguette on an angle to get about 12 slices.

3. Spread goat cheese on the top and then top with the strawberries.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top with basil and pepper.

Source: The Curvy Carrot

Guess who loves springflowers?

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Some tasty cookies that were easy to make.  I brought them to a few meetings that I had in one week, and they seemed to go over well.  I even brought all my leftovers to work, and found the empty container in the copy room, so I would call that a success!  Enjoy.  And thanks for reading!

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking power
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light-brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Whisk together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until they become light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the vanilla and egg and mix to combine.

4. With the mixer slowly going, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, add in the chocolate chips.

5. Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake cookies until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Halfway through, rotate the cookie sheets so that they bake evenly.  (funny story–my oven is too small to shut all the way when I have a cookie sheet in it.  I have to rotate the sheets several times.  Someday I will have a real oven!)

6. Transfer to wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Martha Stewart Magazine (I had the recipe torn out, so I’m not sure what issue it is from).

A Birthday Cake and Beer

For a special 27th birthday recently, I had some time to make a cake for the birthday boy.  I saw a recipe for a Chocolate Guinness Cake and I thought that it would be perfect.  This particular birthday boy happens to very much enjoy his beer.  Plus, I only needed one can out of the 4-pack and gave him the rest.  The cake came out moist and chocolately and I hope was enjoyed by all.  I made chocolate ganache for the top of the cake.  I was hoping that it would swirl around the top, but it didn’t quite work like I wanted.  I ended up just spreading it across the top like icing.  For the writing, I used leftover royal icing from Valentine’s Day cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup Guinness (or other stout)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sour cream

for the ganache:

3 oz. chocolate chips

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon coffee granules

 

1. Bring 1 cup Guinness and 2 sticks of butter to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the cocoa powder and whisk until it is smooth.  Mine didn’t become as smooth as I expected, but I think the point was to not have clumps of chocolate.  Let cool before you add it in the next step (or else the eggs will scramble!)

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream in another bowl.  Add the Guinness-butter-cocoa power mixture to the eggs.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Remove from the mixer and combine with a spatula.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Grease your cake pan well.  I used a 9 in. springform pan, but a bundt pan would work as well.

4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake about 35 minutes, until you can stick a knife in the cake and it comes out clean.  Let cool before icing.

5. To make the ganache, melt the chocolate, heavy cream and coffee in a microwavable bowl.  I microwaved it for 15 seconds, then stirred.  I repeated until the chocolate was melted and the mixture was smooth.  I drizzled it over the top of the cake.

6. For the royal icing, I combined the following in a stand mixer:

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp. meringue powder

5 tbsp water

Mix it until it is not as shiny and looks a little more dull.  If it’s too stiff to pipe, add a bit more water until the texture is better.  For much better instructions than this, you can check out: Annie’s Eats

 

Source: Smitten Kitchen