Sunday, April 22, 2012

Buttermilk Biscuits

Finally! The buttermilk biscuits! I've made these about four times in the past month which means two things: 1. They are delicious; 2. They are easy to make. I've been using Alton Brown's recipe, with a few minor adjustments that suit my kitchen/oven/tastes. 

Buttermilk Biscuits with Homemade Strawberry Jam

For this little blog post I'll walk you through the steps with helpful pics of what it looks like when I make them. I hope this is helpful!

Buttermilk Biscuits!

Here's What You Need:

2 Cups Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Shortening
1 Cup Buttermilk, Chilled (I love when it calls for chilled stuff because I never remember to take things out of the fridge in advance...)

Here's What You Do:

1. Preheat oven to 425. 
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
3. Add butter and shortening (see pic below).

Butter and Shortening Added!

4. Measure the buttermilk now, because
5. We're going to use our hands to mix the butter/shortening/dry ingredients.

6. Mix with your fingers until the mixture looks like crumbs.
7. Make a well in the center of the crumbly mixture and pour in the buttermilk.

8. Stir just until everything is sticky.
9. Dust the counter with flour, dump out the sticky dough, dust the dough with flour.
10. Pat the dough out into a 3/4" thick circle with your hands.

11. Then cut out the biscuits using fancy biscuit cutters or a round cookie cutter or a glass cup.

12. Transfer the uncooked biscuits onto your cookie sheet. They can touch -- they expand up, not out.

13. Bake at 425 for 15-20 Minutes.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

I am unabashedly fond of Oreos. I love them. And they love me. And they are particularly good as the crusts of these mini cheesecakes. If this recipe sounds somewhat similar to another I posted on this blog... it is. These are even better than I remember. And easier than I remember. Holla at easy and delicious cheese cake!

Mini Cheese Cakes
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes.

Here's what you need:

2 lbs cream cheese (I used two packages of Philadelphia and two store brand)
1 C sugar
4 eggs at room temp, lightly whisked
1 C sour cream 
1 t vanilla
1 dash of salt
2 Packages of Oreos. Crush up about 12 Oreos, use 36 more as crusts, and then you still have left overs to dip in milk after all the cheesecakes are gone. 

Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 275. Put paper cups in your cupcake pan. Pop an Oreo in the bottom of each.

Mix up the cream cheese for a few minutes and then add the sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the sour cream, then the eggs and vanilla. Toss in your dash of salt. Then hand stir in the crushed up Oreos. I like some bigger chunks in my cakes, so I just chopped them coarsely.

Bake for 22 minutes, then let them cool on a wire rack. Then put the whole pan in the fridge for four hours. They're worth the wait.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

So while Nicole and I were making the strawberry jam and the biscuits, I mentioned that the jam is also really good on homemade vanilla ice cream as a topping. So we then we had to make vanilla ice cream. We sort of followed our own "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" gustatory logic for the whole evening. It was delicious. We opted to try a new recipe we found online, and decided to add vanilla bean, since I had some on hand. Here's what we ended up with. If you have an ice cream maker in your cabinet somewhere, you should pull it out and give this recipe a try.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Here's What You Need
4 Cups of Half & Half
1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Tablespoons of Vanilla
1/2 Vanilla Bean, seeds scraped out (optional)

Here's What You Do
1. Mix Sweetened Condensed Milk and Half & Half. Mix in Vanilla. If you're adding the scraped out vanilla bean, do that too.
2. Pour into your ice cream maker (I have this one with a cold bowl)
3. Turn on.
4. Enjoy with homemade strawberry jam or the toppings of your dreams.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Freezer Jam

New Kitchen! New cozy town house! New recipes and blog posts! The beloved Kitchenaid mixer is on the counter in its designated spot and biscuits have been made, along with strawberry freezer jam and home made vanilla bean ice cream. I forgot to take pictures of the biscuits, which were phenomenal by the way, so we'll get the blog party started with the amazing strawberry jam my friend Nicole and I made yesterday.

Little Jars of Strawberry Freezer Jam

Doesn't it look great? Strawberries are ripe and delicious out here in the bay area, and on sale at the farmer's market. I picked up a huge flat of berries (enough to make four (or more?) batches of jam) for about $10, and strong-armed my friend Nicole into making jam with me. It's easy, but it's so much more fun to do it with a friend. 

Prepping the Berries: Washing and Stemming
We washed and stemmed the strawberries, gave them a rough chop and threw them in the food processor. For one batch of jam, you need two cups of pureed strawberries, which I think is about one medium package of whole berries.

Stemmed Berries

The Big Red Box of Berries. 12 Dry Pints for $10.

Hot and Clean Jars Drying on the Counter
Strawberry Freezer Jam 
(Recipe adapted from Sure Jell Box Recipe)

Here's What You Need:

2 Cups Pureed Strawberries (You can use a blender or a food processor)
4 Cups Sugar
1 Package Sure Jell Pectin (Regular)
3/4 Cup Water
6 8-oz. Mason Jars

Pouring the Jam into the Jars (Photo by Nicole)
Here's What You Do:

1. Prep the berries: Wash, Stem, Chop, Puree. Measure out exactly two cups of puree into a medium-large bowl. 
2. Mix in the sugar. (I do it by hand.) Stir until sugar is incorporated, and then let stand for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
3. Bring pectin and water to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat. 
4. After sugar/berry mixture has had 10 minutes to cure, add the pectin water. Stir for about 3 minutes until all the sugar is dissolved and it basically looks like runny jam. 
5. Pour into your mason jars. Make sure to leave about 1/2" at the top for the jam to expand in the freezer.

Voila! The whole process takes about 30 minutes, and you have freezer jam for the rest of the year. 

This jam is perfect on biscuits & toasts, or in homemade strawberry ice cream, or drizzled on top of vanilla ice cream for a delicious extra treat.