Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Heather's Lemon Brownies from Scratch


This recipe is of my own creation, invented after I tried a lemon brownie recipe that was making its way around the internet, and was disappointed. You'll find no sweetened condensed milk here - just pure lemony goodness! These are a favorite of my entire family.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (you'll need three lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Glaze
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

DIRECTIONS
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
2) In a large bowl, beat softened butter and sugar with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3) Stir in lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and salt.
4) Add flour gradually, and beat with hand mixer until well-blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.
5) Bake in preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6) Combine glaze ingredients and pour over brownies while still warm. Let cool completely before cutting.

A few helpful tips:

1) You will get more juice from a lemon if it's at room temperature. Roll it on the counter first, then cut lengthwise - not crosswise - for maximum juiciness.
2) Brownies are easiest to cut if you use a plastic knife.




Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

INGREDIENTS
1 2-layer yellow cake mix (any. I use the generic Aldi brand)
1 3-ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix (I use 3/8 cup bulk vanilla pudding mix)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup extra light olive oil
1/2 cup water
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves (we don't like cloves much, so I use 1/4 teaspoon, max)
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat all ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed until moistened, scraping the sides of the bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed for another 2 minutes or until thoroughly blended. Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop (I like the trigger kind), fill 18 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
(This is a half batch of frosting - the full recipe makes far more than needed, but if you like lots and LOTS of frosting, go ahead and double it).

1/2 package (4 ounces) Neufchatel cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon milk
2 cups powdered sugar

 Beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla and milk in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes.

My Husband's Favorite Birthday Cake

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter
1 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 cup butter or margarine and water to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract, salt, and baking soda until smooth. Pour batter into a greased 10 x 15 x 1 inch baking pan.
2. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 20 to 22 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and tests done. Cool for 20 minutes.
3. Combine 1/2 cup butter or margarine and milk in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Mix in sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Stir in pecans. Spread frosting over warm cake.

Naan (Indian Flatbread)

INGREDIENTS
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Indian Ground Beef and Peas (Kheema)

INGREDIENTS
1 small onion, finely diced
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon EACH ground coriander, ground cumin, salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few extra leaves for garnish
4 chapatis, naan, or pitas, warmed

DIRECTIONS
1. In a large skillet, saute the beef and chopped onions until meat is no longer pink, and onion is translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir in the coriander, paprika, garam masala, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook for 1 minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, water, and frozen peas, and simmer, partially covered, for about 10 minutes until peas are tender.

3. Stir in the vinegar and chopped cilantro. Garnish with torn cilantro leaves and serve with warm chapatis, naan, or pita bread.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Garam Masala

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Roast Chicken Seasoning

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons lemon-pepper seasoning
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dried, ground thyme
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.