Posts tagged ‘Baking’

July 5, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies with Giada

I’m always suspicious of TV chefs who spend their show cooking and never take a bite. I want them to convince me it’s delicious! Make me want to cook that dish! Have me thinking I can actually smell the food through my television, because it’s so intoxicatingly scrumptious. I enjoy watching chefs like Giada, Laura Calder, Anne Burrell and Nigella, who by the way, under the cloak of darkness, goes for late night seconds at the end of every show. These chefs happily steal an olive before they hit the salad, taste the sauce as it’s cooking and I’ve even seen them take a swig of the wine (not from the bottle) that they’re cooking with. I’m not saying TV chefs should be swirling their fingers through the sauce or licking the spoons. At least take a bite at the end of the show to let us know it’s good stuff. Can you honestly cook an entire meal without scarfing a little taste here and there?

Moving on to cookies… there’s nothing Italian or typically Giada about these cookies. I’ve confessed to owning all her books and was thrilled when my Aunt brought me “Weeknights with Giada.” Like her other books, this is filled with recipes that you would like to make for your family. I love her section called “Breakfast for Dinner” and she also includes a chapter titled “Change of Pace,” where she strays from her Italian roots and includes recipes like Thai lettuce cups, Greek meatballs and vegetables in red curry. Rather than jump into making a savory dish, I found these cookies and decided they would be my first go from her book. Loaded with rolled oats and dried cranberries, I’ve convinced myself they’re healthy. I’m obviously ignoring the stick of butter and cup of sugar found in the list of ingredients.

OATMEAL, CRANBERRY, AND CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES (makes 12 big cookies)

Adapted from Weeknights with Giada

Giada recommended using a 1/4 measure to scoop the cookies, so I thought I’d show you what they looked like before they hit the oven. I thought they looked so pretty.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 – 4oz bar 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped into 1/4″ pieces (I used Ghirardelli)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment until they are light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla, mix until combined. Add the flour mixture slowly until incorporated. Lastly, add in the oats, cranberries and chocolate and run the mixture until they are just blended through the dough.

Using a 1/4 cup dry measure, scoop the dough into little towers on parchment lined baking sheets.

Press them down slightly…

Giada says to bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes until they are slightly golden on the edges. I bake cookies using the convection setting on my oven. These were done in 10 minutes. Leave the cookies on the baking sheets to cool for 20 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. A really hearty, delicious cookie.

* I wonder if these could be made using whole wheat flour? Or use half whole wheat and half all-purpose? I’m not enough of a baker to figure this one out. Are you?

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May 5, 2012

Bananas Foster French Toast

There’s nothing healthy about this rich delicious breakfast. My husband saw someone on TV making Bananas Foster French Toast and decided I had to try and make it. He loves anything banana, so he began to haunt me with his request. I think you should make Bananas Foster French Toast. Doesn’t Bananas Foster French Toast sound really good? I heard you were making us Bananas Foster French Toast on Sunday. You know, you never make Sunday breakfast for us. Oh, you’re going to the store? You should see if they have some challah, so you can make us Bananas Foster French Toast. I’m not kidding! Really annoying, right? I think he was actually whispering it to me while I slept, thinking that it would come to me in a dream.  I’d wake up and say, “I have this really strange urge to make Bananas Foster French Toast.”

He won.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FRENCH TOAST (Serves 4)

  • 1 loaf challah bread (about 8 thick slices)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use skim milk)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place a sheet pan with a wire rack in the oven.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, vanilla, salt and sugar in a low casserole dish (I use a glass Pyrex pan).  Heat a griddle or large non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with one tbsp of butter. Working in batches, place the slices of challah in the custard mixture and let soak for 30 seconds or so, before turning over to soak the other side. Once the butter has melted, place the custard dipped challah in the pan. Grill for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden and firm. Transfer each finished slice of French toast to the preheated oven to stay warm.  Repeat with the remaining challah slices, using the other tbsp of butter as needed. Keep in the warm oven until ready to serve.

INGREDIENTS FOR BANANAS FOSTER

  • 4 bananas, thick slices
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dark rum

In a medium size non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the brown sugar and cinnamon. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the sugar has dissolved and combined nicely with the butter. Stir in the banana slices and cook for a few minutes, until the bananas begin to soften. Raise the heat slightly and add the rum. Stir and cook until the rum is heated through. The alcohol will cook off as it simmers.

TO SERVE

Spoon the Bananas Foster over the French toast slices and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar. Decadent, sinful and yummy!

On a side note, a few nights after Alan’s fancy breakfast, I made a second batch of the bananas to tweak the recipe and we had it over vanilla ice cream for dessert. Better than the French toast if you ask me!

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