Irish Soda Bread with Muesli

Irish Soda Bread with Muesli / Patty's FoodI’m not sure which came first-Irish Soda Bread with Muesli or  Three Fruit Marmalade- but they belong together and are definitely a match made in heaven.  Every year when Saint Patrick’s Day rolls around I’m usually good for baking a loaf or two of soda bread, but this year I did a little experimenting and came up with my own version of a Muesli filled loaf which I’ve been regularly baking since celebrating Saint Paddy’s day.  I’m craving this freshly baked soda bread spread with butter and marmalade-I can’t even begin to tell you, so I’m going to share my recipe.  Lucky me, I also have the recipe for the Three Fruit marmalade since I took Happy Girl Kitchen Co’s marmalade workshop at Cavallo Point in Sausalito a few weekends ago.

I’ve been inspired since the class and made half a dozen jars of spiced tangerine marmalade last week.  I’ve always been partial to both jam and jelly making but lately, since discovering Irish Soda Bread for breakfast, I like having a jar of marmalade in my fridge.   Meyer lemon marmalade has always been one of my favorites but now I will be branching out into the world of citrus…Watch out citrus fruit here I come!  Three Fruit Marmalade-Happy Girl Kitchen Co. style – is next on my  to-make list.  I just love the chunky rind filled look of it and it’s delicious on my toasted soda bread.  We were all given jars of the marmalade we made in class to take home.  One of the marmalade making tips from the workshop is to find organic citrus fruit with rinds that will be sweeter in the finished marmalade so that the whole fruit can be sliced in small wedges which is easier than the traditional method where the entire rind is removed, sliced, boiled and finally put back in the marmalade.

I can’t think of another bread that can be made in one large bowl, formed into a ball, sliced twice on the top and baked on a parchment lined baking sheet in a hot oven for about half an hour that’s as good as Irish Soda bread-just bring on the Marmalade and that’s my idea of perfection from your own kitchen to the breakfast table.

Irish Soda Bread with Muesli / Patty's FoodI like to slice the entire loaf of  my soda bread after it cools, place any leftovers in a plastic bag in the fridge and enjoy it for breakfast toasted with loads of marmalade spread on top.  This bread is so easy to make and I think it’s healthy-that’s what I tell myself, anyway.  I will keep making this loaf  for breakfast until something I like better comes along-when that might be I can’t really say…
Irish Soda Bread with Muesli / Patty's Food

Irish Soda Bread with Muesli

Yield: 1 large loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup Irish-style whole meal flour, King Arthur's Flour
  • 1 cup Muesli, Bob's Red Mill Old Country Style
  • 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the flours, Muesli, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a small bowl or large glass measuring cup measure out the buttermilk then add the yogurt and egg- stir together.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture, stir together until well combined.
  6. Turn out the dough and knead it a few times-form into a ball.
  7. Place the ball on the parchment lined baking sheet and using a sharp knife cut a cross on top from one end of the top to the other-crisscrossing the cuts.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean or with a few small crumbs.
  9. Cool on a rack before slicing.
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Double Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Double Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies / Patty's FoodDouble Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies…coming right up…I have a batch in my oven right now as we speak- I don’t know what got into me this past month but I have baked  variations of these cookies at least half a dozen times.  I keep baking, tweaking the recipe and sharing these cookies.  Everybody loves them and asks for the recipe so here it is coming right up in my blog post.

I don’t know, am I the only one with this repeater recipe cookie baking thing?  I think there is something cozy and comfortable about baking a familiar batch of cookies with maybe a slight tweak or twist to them.  How much oatmeal, chocolate chips or coconut is the right amount??  How about the sugars or the flours??  For sure it needs a little salt..and here comes another batch out of the oven.

I also wanted to seize the opportunity to share a photo of a vintage apron from my now boxed up in the garage poodle collection, that’s what happens to bad little collections when they get out of control-they get boxed up and put away, except for this cool little apron, I don’t know it might be from the fifties?  That would be 1950′s making my apron over 50 years old, I would never give away it’s exact age-now that wouldn’t be very nice, would it?

Do I ever wear this vintage poodle apron when I’m baking?  No, but it might be just the thing for  entertaining – a theme cocktail in one hand and a rented poodle in the other when greeting guests at the door.  I’ll get right on that.

Double Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies / Patty's FoodDouble Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies / Patty's FoodI’m joining Roxana’s Chocolate Party this month, a little bit late but better late than never!  Since I’ve been baking multiple batches of my delicious coconut-y and chocolate-y oatmeal drop cookies over the past month I decided that there is no better time than the present to share this recipe on my blog with the Chocolate Party since the theme ingredient for the month of April is coconut and at the moment I am all about chocolate coconut cookies.
party-chocolate

Double Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Adapted from Spectrum Organics.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup organic dark brown cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 & 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, larger size

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  3. Place the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, baking spice and salt in a medium bowl, stir to combine and set aside.
  4. Place the coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat several minutes or until creamy.
  5. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until coconut oil is blended with sugar.
  6. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beat until blended.
  7. Add the dry ingredients using low speed until incorporated into coconut mixture.
  8. Stir in the rolled oats, coconut and chocolate chips, combine well.
  9. Use a small scoop (about 1 rounded tablespoon) to form balls of dough to drop on the prepared cookie sheets, press down on top of dough balls to slightly flatten tops.
  10. Space the dough balls in rows of 3 with at least 1 inch of space between each one.
  11. Bake for 14 minutes, until lightly browned on edges and bottoms, remove from oven and cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before removing to continue cooling on metal racks.
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lemon coconut yogurt muffins with tillamook farmstyle greek yogurt

 

lemon muffinsUp until today I hadn’t  been too adventurous with the delicious stash of Tillamook Farmstyle Greek Yogurt in my fridge- very nicely shipped to me by Tillamook.  I’ve been enjoying it throughout the week for breakfast or as a snack with a sprinkling of my homemade almond honey granola.  I’ve also done a little yogurt sharing, especially once I realized I could buy more at my local Safeway store.  So this morning I let a slightly overcast sky inspire me to do some baking.  My last minute decisions to bake are always the most rewarding and this time my spur of the moment decision to bake a batch of muffins this morning led me right to my Greek yogurt.

Of course there are a few more things involved, besides having a large container of Greek yogurt in your fridge,  when planning to bake a batch of lemon coconut yogurt muffins – like having lemons, coconuts, flour, sugar, measuring cups and spoons etc.  Lucky for me I had everything I needed in my pantry for these muffins.  I think most home bakers like to keep the basics for their baking on hand -just in case the urge to bake strikes.  I like to bake with yogurt and having it on hand for my baking projects as well as for just plain eating is one of the things I’m doing these days.

I used the last of my Meyer lemons for these lemon coconut yogurt muffins and I admit to being sad to come to the end of my special lemons, but any lemons would work in the recipe.  I noticed my Meyer lemon tree is covered with blossoms, very exciting -looking forward to a new crop!
Lemon Coconut Yogurt Muffins
I haven’t posted a recipe here in over a month so I had to do a little scrambling to gather all my food blogging accoutrements -such as a quick camera check-battery dead?  Yes, of course- but not too worry I have an extra one fully charged just for a rainy day like today.  Speaking of rainy days, it sort of feels like Oregon here today with the green hills, rain and Tillamook yogurt.  But, I love it for a change from the warm early Spring weather we’ve been having or I should say enjoying here in the Bay Area.

So there you have it-a new recipe, a quick check of the weather, a few words and Patty’s Food blog is up and running this week.  Please enjoy my recipe for lemon coconut yogurt muffins.

Lemon Coconut Yogurt Muffins

lemon coconut yogurt muffins with tillamook farmstyle greek yogurt

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 & 1/4 cups Tillamook Farmstyle Greek Yogurt, Nonfat
  • 1/4 cup lowfat milk
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
  • for the topping
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cake spice, I used Penzeys Spices brand

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Spray with baking spray or line with paper cups a 12 cup standard muffin pan.
  3. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and lemon zest in a large bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt, milk, lemon juice, coconut flakes, eggs, coconut oil and lemon oil.
  5. Stir together until just combined, batter will be thick and fluffy.
  6. Portion the batter into the prepared muffin cups, I use a large scoop.
  7. The batter should be almost to the tops of muffin cups.
  8. Sprinkle the topping over the muffin tops.
  9. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool on a rack until muffins are cool enough to remove from pan and continue cooling on rack.
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Little Meyer Lemon Cakes

Little Meyer Lemon Cakes / Patty's FoodA belated Happy New Year to everyone!  January is the month for lists, lots and lots of lists to start planning in the new year.  I’m so busy this month but I’m happily planning a tea party for my granddaughter Gracie’s birthday coming up in February.  I’m thinking of a mother daughter tea with hats, gloves and a generous assortment of iced cakes, cookies, scones and tea.

Before I go off into the world of Meyer lemons and little cakes, I would like to thank everyone who is following my blog and especially those who take the time to leave a comment, it’s nice to know if  you’ve made one of my recipes and enjoyed it.

January is also the month when my Meyer lemon tree gives me lemons and I have to plan how I’m going to use them…so I’m off to create another list of possibilities.  But first, before I go crazy with plans for my Meyer lemons, I wanted did some experimenting with lemon cake recipes and mini cake pans today , so I’m sharing my results with you.

Little Meyer Lemon Cakes / Patty's FoodI found that I could use a large size muffin pan to make 8 mini cakes with my Meyer lemon cake recipe.  After removing the cooled muffins/cakes from the pan I trimmed the slightly rounded tops, flipped them over onto  plates and iced them with a generous tablespoon of lemony glaze.
Little Meyer Lemon Cakes / Patty's FoodI don’t think there are enough Meyer lemons on my tree for all my ideas, which include making my favorites, Meyer lemon curd and marmalade.  They are also great to have in the kitchen to use sliced in sparkling water and hot tea.  Oh-and don’t forget to use both juice and zest in salad dressings, that sounds like something I need to put on a list somewhere….happy list making to all of us and wishing you great culinary adventures in the new year!
Little Meyer Lemon Cakes / Patty's Food

Little Meyer Lemon Cakes

Yield: 8 little cakes

Ingredients

  • 2&1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1&1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into bits
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 Meyer lemons, zested for cake and juiced for glaze, 1/4 teaspoon of zest also reserved for the glaze
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces crème fraîche
  • 8 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
  • for the lemon glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 3-4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Spray a large size (6) muffin pan with baking spray.
  3. Spray 2 additional small cake pans, if you have them or bake second batch (2 muffin/cakes) using same large muffin pan.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  5. Stir the lemon zest into the sugar, reserve 1/4 teaspoon of the zest for the glaze, set aside.
  6. Stir together the crème fraîche and vanilla yogurt, set aside.
  7. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed beat together the butter and lemony sugar, until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Scrape down the sides of bowl as needed.
  9. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  10. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon oil.
  11. On low speed beat in the flour in thirds, alternating with the crème fraîche/yogurt mixture in two additions and beating until smooth.
  12. Fill the large muffin cups about 3/4 full and smooth the tops.
  13. Bake for 32 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes away with a few light crumbs.
  14. Cool on rack for 10 minutes.
  15. Carefully remove from pans, turn upside down and continue to cool.
  16. When the cakes are completely cool, trim the bottoms to make them even and flat.
  17. to make the lemon glaze
  18. Whisk together the confectioners sugar, reserved lemon zest and juice to make a smooth pourable glaze.
  19. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon on the top of each cake, letting the glaze drip down the sides.
  20. Let rest until glaze sets.
  21. The cakes can be stored well wrapped in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
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Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook

Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust / Patty's FoodI baked my first buttermilk pie from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook.  I’ve always been curious to bake a buttermilk pie and not having a family recipe or tradition of buttermilk pie baking, I turned to this wonderful heirloom dessert cookbook for a delicious recipe.  Buttermilk pie has a unique flavor and the aroma while it bakes makes the entire house smell good.   It was tangy from the buttermilk, lemony from the lemon zest and flavorful with fresh gratings of nutmeg in the filling.  The delicate pecan crust  is perfect with the buttermilk custard filling.  If you bake this pie and you’re a pecan lover -you will love this crust.  Also don’t forget to add the sugared pecans on top for a garnish.

I know that most people are running around with a million things to accomplish during this last month of the year.  But, I like to think of myself as never too busy to bake a pie, especially a quick and easy buttermilk pie.  No fruit to mess around with, chocolate to melt or mousse to set up -this pie is perfect for busy folks looking for a comforting delicious homemade dessert.

Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust / Patty's FoodOriginally from the UK but now a Southern delicacy, buttermilk pie is a tradition that makes the plain baked custard in a cup from my childhood look ho-hum…although I did love the baked custards from back in the day at Walnut Creek’s Comptons in Emporium-Capwells.  Although, I don’t believe they used buttermilk in their custard recipe, for sure there wasn’t a pecan crust.

I like a pie recipe with history and tradition-like buttermilk pie which is sometimes referred to as ‘chess pie’, although I read that a true chess custard pie contains cornmeal which buttermilk pie does not.  I also like baking a pie that you can have fun with-like adding a warm blackberry fruit sauce or sugared pecans on top.
Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust / Patty's FoodButtermilk pie would make a delicious addition to the holiday sweet table -how fun would it be to serve a traditional dessert that tastes so good and is easy to prepare.  I like the sound of buttermilk pie and apple pie served together.  I’ll take a small slice of each please!

I love to bake pies on a cold wintry day and enjoy the buttery aromas coming from my oven.  I can’t think of a better gift for the family than to share this traditional Southern pie over the holidays.  It’s so easy to make, there’s only one thing to remember when baking and that is to remove your pie from the oven when the filling is firm and set.  Another thing I love is that it can be served slightly warm from the oven or  later after being chilled in your fridge.

Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust / Patty's FoodI hope everyone is enjoying the holidays, not getting too crazy and taking time to smell the evergreens-whenever possible!  I finished wrapping my presents -now I have to keep my grandkids from opening their packages or guessing what’s in them before the big day arrives.  I know they are excited but I want them to have something to open and be surprised by on Christmas.  I guess I could tell them that Santa says you have to wait!
Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust / Patty's Food

Buttermilk Pie with Pecan Crust from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook

Yield: 8 pieces

Adapted from The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.

Ingredients

  • for the crust
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned into cup and leveled off)
  • 1/3 cup of pecan pieces
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into bits
  • 1 large egg
  • Flour for the work surface
  • for the buttermilk filling
  • 1&1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1&1/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Sugared pecans for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. to make the crust
  2. Combine the flour, pecans, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are finely ground.
  3. Add the butter and egg, pulse until the dough holds together when pinched, does not form a ball.
  4. Form a flat disk, wrap in waxed paper and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to a day. (dough can also be frozen for up to 3 months)
  5. Lightly flour the work surface before rolling the dough out to a 12" round.
  6. Place the rolled dough in a 9" pie plate and gently press into the bottom and against the sides of the pan.
  7. Trim the dough to leave a 1" overhang over the rim of the pie plate.
  8. Fold the overhang of dough back over itself to form a double layer and with your fingers crimp or press the dough down around the edges.
  9. Place back in the fridge for 1 hour before baking to reduce shrinking.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  11. Line the pie shell with parchment or foil and add pie weights before baking.
  12. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and continue to bake for 10 minutes longer until golden.
  13. Remove from oven and cool while making the buttermilk filling.
  14. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
  15. to make the buttermilk filling
  16. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a food processor and pulse until combined.
  17. Add the eggs, melted butter, buttermilk, lemon zest and nutmeg. Process until combined.
  18. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the warm pie shell and bake for about 55 minutes or until the filling has set and is slightly wobbly in the center.
  19. Cool on a metal rack.
  20. Serve at room temperature or chilled, garnished with pecans.
  21. Lower the oven to 325F.
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Spiced Whole Grain Ginger Cookies ~it’s a #GrainHoliday with Hodgson Mill~

Spiced Whole Grain Ginger Cookies / Patty's FoodThe nice people at Hodgson Mill sent me a box with an assortment of their products including a bag of white whole wheat flour that they asked me to use in a recipe of my choice.  I admit it-I’m not as comfortable baking with whole grains, but I took the plunge this week and baked a batch of cookies.  Just for fun I subbed the healthier whole grain into a recipe that I traditionally make using all-purpose flour.  I wanted my cookies to have a rich whole grain ginger spiced flavor, so I used 100% white whole wheat flour but feel free to substitute half all-purpose flour for a more traditional softer spiced ginger cookie.  A little experimentation in baking is fun so mixing it up with different flours should be a good thing.  I suppose the best way to start using flours that are new to you  is to play it safe  going with half all-purpose and half white whole wheat in a recipe then see how you like your results and go from there.

I had no idea that white whole wheat flour comes from a lighter tan colored wheat kernel that is actually a milder, sweeter tasting flour than red wheat.  I also didn’t have a clue that there is both a red and a white wheat.  I thought white whole wheat was made with a small amount whole wheat flour mixed in to white all-purpose flour to make it healthier.  I straightened myself out after doing a little research (reading the back of the bag of the white whole wheat flour).  I now also know that white whole wheat can be substituted for both all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour in your baking, I’m sure everyone else already knows this and that I’m one of the last ‘old-school-all-purpose-flour-bakers’ to figure it out.

Anyway, I made these whole grain cookies before I did my research and I think they turned out good, crispy with lots of spicy ginger flavor.  My taste testing husband, self-appointed head of cookie quality control, says they are good and kind of grow on you-I think that’s a compliment.  I’m kidding-these cookies are great and all lucky taste testers loved them.

I probably lost you back in the first paragraph with all my wheat flour talk but if you’re still following along then maybe you’re interested in trying a bag of Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour. Here is a link to $1 off coupon- good for any bag of Hodgson Mill flour or cornmeal or join in the “25 Days of Grain Holiday” Sweepstakes fun.
There is also a prize-pack giveaway of assorted Hodgson Mill products for one of my lucky readers, the winner can choose gluten free of whole wheat products, simply leave a comment on this post to enter the giveaway and if you win…. Hodgson Mill will ship the prize directly to you.

 

Spiced Whole Grain Ginger Cookies / Patty'sFood

Spiced Whole Grain Ginger Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Adapted from Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour, I used Hodgson Mill brand
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger, cut into bits
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar for rolling the cookies

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with Silpats.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Beat in the egg, vanilla and molasses.
  5. Sift together the dry ingredients and stir in the ginger bits.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stir until just combined.
  7. Using a small 1" scoop form dough balls and roll in the raw sugar.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until puffed and browned.
  9. Cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to metal cooling racks.
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Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider Tea

 

Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider Tea / Patty's FoodBrrrr.  The frost covered the pumpkin patch last night and it was so cold in my house this morning.  But, I am up bright and early with a hot spicy drink to help you take the edge off these freezing temperatures that have us in their grip this very cold week.  I’ve been enjoying steaming mugs of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea all week but decided over the weekend to make a satisfying hot drink using my tea, apple cider and cranberry juice steeped with a few favorite spices.

Which got me to thinking, what does mulled cider mean?  It means steeping or heating sweetened cider with with spices, like cinnamon, cloves, star anise and citrus fruit, like orange slices or cranberries.  Mulled cider is popular when it’s cold outside and sometimes is served with rum or brandy but it’s also good served without alcohol and makes a good hot drink for kids.  The Hot Apple Cider Tea that I steeped to make my mulled cranberry apple cider tea is caffeine-free and made with a blend of dried apple pieces and spices.

I used apples, oranges, cranberries, juices and spices that I had on hand in my kitchen, kind of nice to make a hot drink that everybody likes without even having to make a trip outside (brrrr) to the store.  I know this icy cold weather will pass and even now I can see the bright blue sky outside my window.  Cold but clear,  perfect day for a brisk walk in the neighborhood-stay warm everybody!Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider Tea / Patty's Food

Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider Tea

Yield: 6 mugs

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 cups apple cider or juice
  • 2 & 1/2 cups water, to make tea
  • 2 tea bags, I used Hot Apple Cider Tea bags
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus more to garnish mugs
  • 1 slice of fresh ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 pink peppercorns
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries
  • Honey and brown rock sugar or sweetener of your choice to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil, brew the tea and place in a large pot on the stove.
  2. Add the cranberry juice and apple cider/juice to the pot.
  3. Slice large pieces of zest off one of the oranges and add to the pot.
  4. Add 2 of the cinnamon sticks.
  5. Add the ginger, star anise, cloves, cardamom and pink peppercorns.
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer for 30 minutes, remove from the heat.
  7. Place a lid on the pot and continue to steep the mulled cider for 10 minutes.
  8. Sweeten to taste, I used brown rock sugar and honey.
  9. Serve hot in mugs garnished with slices of oranges, cranberries and cinnamon sticks.
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Tarragon Lime Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Frosting

 

Tarragon Lime Cookies / Patty's FoodI like cookies that are easy to make, fun to serve and pack a lot of flavor, especially the flavors of tarragon, lime and white chocolate.  December is the month for home baked cookies, for the most part cookies baked with the Christmas holidays and sharing with friends and family firmly in mind.  My tarragon, lime and white chocolate cookies are not the usual holiday cookies but that might be what is special about them.  The white chocolate lime frosting may be slightly holiday related.

I love to bake cookies in December, although I baked these back in October and never got around to posting them but I’m sharing them today because they are so good and maybe, who knows -they might turn out to be a cookie suitable for Christmas after all.

Another thing about these cookies that I like is a chance to use the fresh tarragon from my garden that even after several weeks of cold Fall nights-is still attractive- pretty, green and lush.  Good enough to use in a batch of cookies and good enough to throw a few sprigs into a roast chicken.  Now that I’ve pulled out all my wilted basil, some of the other herbs in the garden are looking pretty good, like thyme and it’s still fun to use them in the kitchen.  Even though the herb garden may be more out of sight and out of mind this time of year, living in California with our climate gives us ready access to many fresh herbs in our gardens year round.  I’m going to take advantage of that whenever possible, so if you have your own herb patch that’s available-great- if not, search for fresh tarragon and limes in your market, I’ll bet you will find them in the produce section and it might bring a little sunshine to your kitchen even when the days are short and the nights are cold.

Happy start of December and let the holiday baking begin, if you care to comment please let me know what kinds of cookies you like to bake and share this month.

Tarragon Lime Cookies / Patty's Food

Tarragon Lime Cookies with White Chocolate Lime Frosting

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Adapted from Baked Elements by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (226grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (64 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest (from 1 lime)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • for the White Chocolate Lime Frosting
  • 4.4 ounces (125 grams) Lindt Classic Recipe White Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest, zest in small strips (from 1 lime)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and creamy.
  2. Beat in the salt, tarragon, lime zest and juice on medium speed until combined, about 30-40 seconds.
  3. Add the flour on low speed and beat until just combined, scrape down the bowl as needed.
  4. Chill the dough for about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).
  6. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Using a small (2") scoop form dough balls and gently press flat as you place on baking sheets.
  8. Place the dough balls about 1" apart-you should have 12 cookies on each sheet.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until edges just start to turn light brown.
  10. Remove to wire racks and cool cookies.
  11. to make the White Chocolate Lime Frosting
  12. Melt the chopped white chocolate, either using short bursts in a microwave or on top of the stove using double boiler method.
  13. Using a small offset spatula frost the cookies and lightly sprinkle with lime zest.
  14. Allow the frosting to firm up before serving.
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Germany 2013 / Patty's FoodBaden Baden

Hazelnut Streusel Bread

 

Hazelnut Streusel Bread / Patty's Food I could spend my time organizing myself for the holidays until the cows come home but instead I’m going to write this post, go for a walk, run to the market and spend a few hours in my kitchen making turkey soup with my Thanksgiving leftovers.  Oh, and I also have this hazelnut streusel bread to share.  I found this bread recipe in yet another baking cookbook from one of my favorites, Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort -featuring mouthwatering recipes and tales of the sweet life with favorites from bakers across the country-whew that was a long title.  Anyway, it’s a good cookbook, full of recipes that you’ll want to make and so far the few that I’ve made have worked.  I made this Hazelnut Streusel Bread, the Buttery Flaky Rolls for Thanksgiving and the Lemon-Blueberry Drizzle Bread with a few Meyer lemons that were ripe on my tree.  I’m not going to list the ones I want to make because it’s basically the entire cookbook, how’s that for a recommendation!?

We had a small group of family and friends for Thanksgiving this year, smaller than normal but aside from missing the ones who didn’t come -we had a nice dinner and visit with everyone.  For some reason -I’m not sure why-I still baked a 20 pound turkey that I can’t even lift in and out of the oven…next year I’m bringing home a younger smaller sibling of that big boy turkey and yes, there will be less leftover turkey but I can live with that.  I still made all the fixings but completely forgot about the sweet potatoes-that was weird, must be a sign of aging.  At least I didn’t forget about the pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

I hope everyone has a relaxing holiday weekend and that no one gets involved in a brawl at Walmart, just kidding but seriously it makes shopping on ‘Black Friday’ look pretty unappealing, doesn’t it?  Maybe we could all bake bread or cookies to give as gifts for the holidays -might be easier, nicer, more personal and cost less money, not a bad idea if I do say so myself!

Hazelnut Streusel Bread / Patty's Food

Hazelnut Streusel Bread

Yield: 1 large loaf

Slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort by Kim Laidlaw.

Ingredients

  • for the streusel
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (2oz/60g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (2&1/2 oz/75 g) dry roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • for the batter
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz/60 g) dry roasted hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup (5 oz/155 g) granulated sugar
  • 1&1/4 cups (6&1/2 oz/ 200 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz/90 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (3 oz/90 g) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Zest of orange

Instructions

  1. to make the streusel
  2. Place the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Process mixture until crumbly-transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped hazelnuts, set aside.
  3. to make the batter
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).
  5. Generously spray a 9x5 loaf pan with baking spray.
  6. Place the whole hazelnuts and half of the granulated sugar in the bowl of the food processor and process until finely ground. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Process to combine and transfer to a large bowl.
  7. Place the butter and the remaining granulated sugar in the food processor and process until light and creamy, scrape down the bowl as needed.
  8. Add the eggs and vanilla and process to combine.
  9. Next add the sour cream and process to combine.
  10. Remove the mixture from the bowl of the food processor and add to the dry ingredients, stir to combine.
  11. Stir in the chocolate chips and orange zest.
  12. Scrape half the batter into the prepared pan and layer in half the streusel, repeat with the rest of the batter and streusel, spreading evenly in the pan.
  13. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
  14. Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then turn out to continue cooling on a metal rack.
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Iced Spelt Persimmon Cookies

persimmon cookies / Patty's Food

With a few adaptions, such as using spelt flour, these are the same cookies we made every year when our neighbors gave us a bag of ripe persimmons from their tree.  So, last Saturday at the farmer’s market when I saw the display of ripe, cookie ripe, persimmons I could only think of one thing…make persimmon cookies to take a trip down family cookie memory lane.  I made a double batch of these cookies and invited my grandsons, Noah (8) and JD (almost 6) to help me spread on the icing.  They ate a few, so making the double batch was the right idea.  I also had enough to send them home with a bag of cookies, plus extra to share with my persimmon cookie loving friends.  I like the idea of carrying on the family baking traditions to another generation, especially the cookie baking traditions.

These days when we’re all so busy with the holidays I find myself going more for quick and easy baking projects- just like my iced spelt persimmon cookies.  Everybody loves these seasonal drop cookies and while I like to try new recipes, some of the older ones are just too good to forget about.  I can’t think of a better cookie jar cookie, they are real keepers but shared with your family they won’t last that long.

A few more quick thoughts about baking these cookies -I find myself using more spelt flour, just bought another bag this morning-it’s good mixed with all purpose flour and as I found with these persimmon cookies, it’s good used all by itself.  We may also have used half shortening and half butter in this recipe originally, so if you want to try it that way, they will also be tender and full of persimmon flavor.

Cher won the Mug Cake cookbook giveaway from last week so congratulations Cher!!!  I will be contacting you for your address and I hope you enjoy the cookbook.

persimmon cookies / Patty's Food

Iced Spelt Persimmon Cookies

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

Adapted from my grandmother.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pulp from about 2- 3 persimmons
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups spelt flour, or all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins and dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • for the icing
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk, or more if needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
  3. Mix together the persimmon pulp and baking soda in a small bowl, set aside.
  4. Mix together the flour, spices and salt, set aside.
  5. Place the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment and cream until light and fluffy, a few minutes.
  6. Add the egg and vanilla, mix until combined.
  7. Mix in the persimmon pulp, then the flour mixture, raisins/cranberries and walnuts.
  8. Scoop the cookie dough out by rounded tablespoons.
  9. Bake for about 12 minutes, cool on metal racks.
  10. to make the icing
  11. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and blend until smooth.
  12. Place a rounded teaspoon on each cooled cookie and spread with a small offset spatulas or small flat knife
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