Archive for September, 2011

Apple Tartlets with Caramel Sauce

I found this recipe a while ago – though I can no longer remember where. It has been sitting and waiting to be made for 4 years. Truthfully, it looked like an involved recipe, which is why I’ve waited so long to try it. I like my weekend snacks to not take that long to make!

Pastry

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omitted because we use salted butter)
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream

Filling

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (we used 1 teaspoon lemon juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Apples and Caramel Sauce

  • 2 lbs of apples, cored, peeled and cut into eighths
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

1. Mix the flour and salt (if using). With a food processor (or by hand or with tools) cut in the butter. Add whipped cream and mix/pulse until mixture comes together.

2. Turn out onto floured surface (ours was a little too dry so we added a couple of tablespoons of water) and roll into a 9×7 rectangle. Fold in half, rotate 90 degrees and fold in half again. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate up to 3 hours.

3. In food processor, pulse almonds and icing sugar. Add butter, lemon peel (or lemon juice), almond extract and vanilla extract. Combine well. Refrigerate 2 hours.

4. (This should be done when you are almost ready to take everything out of the fridge) In a large bowl, toss the apples and the lemon juice.

5. In large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the 2/3 cup sugar until amber. (And this cannot be left alone for a second! I turned around briefly to look at the apples and bam, the sugar was burnt!) Add apples, stirring often, for 5 to 10 min. Drain in a colander set over a bowl to collect the juice. Refrigerate apples.

Luckily a little hot water took care of it!

6. Roll out dough (it may have to sit while to be workable) to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 8 5 inch rounds (we made 9). Place on parchment lined baking sheets and freeze until firm.

7. Place 2 tablespoons of almond filling on each round, leaving a border around the edge. Place apples on top of filling. Freeze until firm (at this point, we were getting annoyed with all the freezing, so we skipped this part). Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and bake at 435F for 25 min, or until pastry was golden.

8. In a small saucepan, cook reserved juices over medium-high heat for 4 min. Add cream and cook for 5 min until reduced by half. Serve sauce over apple tartlets.

 

Served with a little more whipped cream (to mask the burnt sugar taste).

 

Verdict: A recipe that takes this long pretty much has to be the best thing to be worthwhile, and it wasn’t. Though the pastry was some of the best I have tasted, so I am keeping that to use with another pie at some point.

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Donut Muffins

This is another recipe I found in the French Metro newspaper. I had made them and loved these muffins previously so when I wanted to make some muffins for my co-workers I immediately thought of making them again.

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk

Topping (I think this whole section can be halved. I had a lot leftover)

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (I used 1/4 cup and it was still a little much)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt (if using), nutmeg and cinnamon.

2. In another bowl, mix the oil, sugar, egg and milk.

3. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until moist.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 min at 350F. (I was using a funky shaped pan, so mine were smaller and needed around 10-12 min to cook)

5. Remove from mould as soon as they come out of the oven. Mix the cinnamon and sugar for the topping in a small bowl.

6. While the muffins are still warn, dip in the melted butter, then in the cinnamon sugar topping.

My funky shaped muffins pre-topping

 

Verdict: I remember liking these a lot more. The taste, for me, just wasn’t there. Though everyone at work loved them, so it might just be me.

 

Post sugar topping

 

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Fusilli Casserole

I found this recipe in Tony Danza’s cookbook.

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds fusilli (we just used one box package)
  • 2 cups or more of meat sauce (instead of the meatballs and sauce the recipe called for)
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese

1. Hard-boil the eggs. Cool and remove shells. Quarter.

2. Peel and cut the eggplant into 1 inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant until lightly brown. Drain on paper towels.

3. Cook pasta. Preheat oven to 375F.

4. The recipe says to start off with a layer of pasta, but we started with sauce. Our layers were: Sauce, pasta, sauce, eggplant/eggs, cheese, pasta, sauce, eggplant/eggs, cheese, sauce and cheese. And a very large oven dish is needed.

5. Cover with foil and bake 15 to 20 min.

Verdict: I am not sure what the egg added to the dish. And despite all the sauce the meal came out kind of dry. I don’t think I will be making this recipe again.

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Criss-Cross Shepherd’s Pie

This is another recipe I got from Kraft.

  • 675g of potatoes (they say that’s 3 large. Our scale said that 5 medium to small potatoes was the same thing)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (we used garlic powder to taste)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups corn (we just used one can of corn)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 55 gram package of onion soup mix
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese spread

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Boil potatoes and garlic until potatoes are tender. (Because we were using garlic powder instead of garlic cloves, we didn’t put it in the boiling water, letting the potatoes boil on their own.)

3. Brown meat and onions in skillet. Drain and return to skillet. Stir in corn, water and soup mix. Cook for 3 min, stirring frequently until water is absorbed. It says here to spoon into 8 ramekins, but we made one giant serving instead.

4. Drain potatoes. Add cheddar cheese and cream cheese (we added the garlic powder at this stage) and mash until well blended. Spoon over meat mixture. With a fork make a cross hatch pattern on the top.

5. Bake 15 to 20 min (for the individual serving. The larger one needed a little bit longer).

Verdict: My mom and my sister liked it. I tried eating it both with and without ketchup, but something was off about the taste. I am not sure whether it was the cream cheese – which I am not a fan of, though baked I don’t think I really tasted it – or the onion soup mix on top of onions that gave it just too much onion flavour.

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In Search Of: the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Part 24: Lower Fat Chocolate Chip Cookie

I found this recipe on another food blog. I didn’t calculate calories or anything myself, so I don’t know if the title of these cookies are actually true.

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons corn syrup, honey or maple syrup (we used honey)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla or maple extract (we used vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (omitted because we use salted butter)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar. Add egg, honey and vanilla.

3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt (if using). Add to wet ingredients (compared to other chocolate chip cookie recipes, this one was rather dry. For a bit it seemed like I would need to add another egg to fully mix in all the flour, but in the end one egg was enough). Add in chocolate chips.

4. Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 min.

We made 2 dozen small and 9 kind of big cookies, so we maybe could have made 3 dozen small cookies if we kept the size consistent all the way through.

Verdict: This wasn’t a bad recipe. It just didn’t have the depth of flavour that other recipes have had. They were moist and thin, but just not the best we have had lately.

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Layered BLT Salad

This is a recipe from Kraft, that I wanted to try for two reasons: to use up left over ingredients from last week and to see if a salad I made would change my opinion on Caesar dressing.

  • 10 cups lettuce (we didn’t measure; it was probably less, much less)
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups croutons
  • 1 cup combined of mozzarella and cheddar cheese
  • 85g of bacon bits (we used 1/3 cup)
  • 1/2 cup Caesar dressing

1. Layer lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, cheese and bacon bits in a large bowl.

2. Drizzle with dressing and toss lightly.

Verdict: I guess Caesar dressing is just going to be one of those goods I just don’t like.

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In Search Of: the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie Part 23: Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookie

I found this recipe on another food blog.

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omitted because we use salted butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 335F.

2. In a large bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla.

3. In another bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt (if using). Add to wet ingredients.

4. Add oats, raisins and chocolate chips.

5. Drop spoonfuls onto baking sheets and bake for 12 min.

Verdict: These were delicious. I loved the cinnamon flavour. The texture was perfect, not too gooey but not too crisp. These might be my favourite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie I have tried. We made 28 in this batch. I made a second batch substituting another 1/2 cup of chocolate chips for the half cups of raisins and brought that batch to work where they were a big hit. I think I liked the version with raisins better, because the raisin and cinnamon flavours really worked well together.

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