27 December 2007

ginger cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 T ground ginger
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c finely chopped candied ginger
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
3/4 c milk

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. prepare a muffin pan with paper liners.

in a small bowl, mix together flour, ginger, baking powder, and salt. stir in candied ginger. in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until smooth.

scoop batter into prepared pan. bake in preheated oven for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown and tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. frost as desired.

ginger cream cheese frosting

4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4 c confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/4 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
1 t ground ginger
pinch salt

in a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy. with mixer on low speed, beat in confectioner's sugar, 1/2 c at a time so that sugar doesn't fly all over the place. increase speed to medium-high, beating until light and fluffy. add crystallized ginger, ground ginger, and salt, beating until well mixed.

spread frosting over cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to server or for up to 8 hours.

21 December 2007

Penzey's Poppy Seed Cookies

1 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c finely ground almonds
1/2 c whole blue poppyseeds
1/4 t salt

Cream the butter. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, almonds, poppyseeds, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture and beat well. Divide the dough in half and roll into logs. Roll in sugar if desired.

Wrap in waxed paper and chill for a few hours. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice logs about 1/4" thick and bake at 325 degrees for about 12 minutes or until the edges start to brown.

15 December 2007

cranberry orange oatmeal cookies

You can leave out the orange oil if desired, but we think cranberry orange is a nice festive combination. Try adding pecans or walnuts.

1 3/4 c all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground cloves
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
10 T vegetable shortening (preferably Crisco butter flavor), room temperature
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t orange oil
1 1/3 c old-fashioned oats (not quick cooking)
1 1/2 c dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two light colored baking sheets (or use cooking spray).

Stir or sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in small bowl to blend. Set aside. Using electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl until blended and smooth, about 1 minute. Add egg, vanilla, and orange oil, and mix thoroughly. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated, then stir in oatmeal and cranberries.

Using a tablespoon or a #50 disher, drop dough onto sheet. Bake until tops and bottoms are lightly golden, rotating baking sheets, front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking to ensure even browning, about 10-13 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

Will keep for several days in airtight container. Should freeze well.

02 December 2007

cheddar cauliflower soup

2 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 head cauliflower, about 2.5 lb, cut into florets
5 c low-sodium chicken broth
2 c cream
2 t kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper (white and/or black), to taste
8 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded

in large Dutch oven over medium-high head, warm oil. add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. add cauliflower; cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. add broth, cream, salt, pepper; bring to boil. reduce heat to low; simmer until cauliflower is easily pierced with fork, about 10 minutes.

using immersion blender, blend soup to a fine puree, 3-5 minutes. add cheese; stir until melted and well combined with soup. adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. ladle soup into individual bowls and serve immediately with toasted bread.