Thursday, April 17, 2014

Biscotti. It's not just for coffee drinkers

New baking challenges are fun, especially when the process is not difficult and the end result is not just edible but down right tasty.
Last summer I tried baking biscotti for the first time and have made it about once a month, or more, ever since.
I had never even tasted it but decided to bake a batch and give it a try. I always thought it was just for coffee drinkers/dunkers...which I am neither.
I would describe it as a crispy version of a slice of quick bread and better for you than a fried pastry.
So I encourage you to put down the donut and try some biscotti!

Cranberry Pecan Biscotti
Ingredients:
1 large orange
1/2 c dried cranberries
6 T butter, softened
1 c sugar
3 eggs
2 t vanilla
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1 egg, beaten
large crystal sugar
Directions:
Roll orange on counter, pressing down to "soften". 
Grate the orange rind and squeeze the juice of the orange into a bowl. 
Heat in microwave for about 15 seconds. Add cranberries, put aside.
Cream butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Stir in vanilla.
Combine dry ingredients and add to batter, mixing on low speed.
Pour off most of the juice from the cranberries and add to the batter along with the nuts.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; divide in half.
Shape each piece of dough into a 16x2" log.
Place each piece of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush dough with beaten egg & sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.
Transfer to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temp to 300º.
Place biscotti logs on cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2" thick slices.
Place on a wire rack, cut side down. Place rack on baking sheet.
Bake until firm to touch, about 30 minutes.
Store cooled biscotti in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Caramel Macchiato Biscotti
Ingredients:
6 T butter, softened
1 c sugar
3 eggs
2 t espresso powder
1 T vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 T warm water
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 c Kraft caramel bits
1 egg, beaten
turbinado sugar
Directions:
Cream the butter and sugar until light, about 2 minutes.
Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate each.
Stir in espresso powder, vanilla and water.
Combine dry ingredients and add to batter.
Mix in caramel bits.
Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface; divide in half.
Shape each piece into a 16x2" log.
Place each piece of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush dough with egg & sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake at 375º for 25 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.
Transfer to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes.
Reduce oven temp to 300º.
Place biscotti logs on cutting board. 
Using a serrated knife, cut logs crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2" thick slices.
Place on a wire rack, cut side down. Place rack on baking sheet.
Bake until firm to touch, about 30 minutes. 
Store cooled biscotti in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chocolate Mint Cupcake Do-over

While planning the monthly offerings for the Dessert of the Month Club 
I knew these cupcakes belonged in March. 
















I make these every year about the time our shipment of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies arrive. 

Keebler makes a similar cookie so you can make these cupcakes anytime, 
not just until you run out of GSTM...which is about a day in this house!











The originally posted cupcake is a great, quick way to get your chocolate mint fix but just wasn't special enough for the Club. So here's the homemade version:
Ingredients:
Cupcake-
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla 
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cocoa powder (I use dark cocoa)
1/2 t salt
1 c buttermilk
12 Chocolate mint cookies

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350º.
Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Add in eggs and vanilla, mixing well to combine. 
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. 
Add half of the dry ingredients to batter and mix well to combine, followed by half of the buttermilk, mixing well to combine. 
Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, mixing well to combine.
Line muffin pans with liners, place a cookie in each liner and fill with batter, about 2/3 of the way full. 
Bake for about 15-20 minutes. 
Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Frosting-
1/2 c butter, softened
2/3 c cocoa powder (I use dark cocoa)
3 c pwd sugar
1/3 c whipping cream 
2 t vanilla (use mint flavoring instead)
pinch of salt 

Directions:
Combine softened butter and cocoa powder. 
Add in powdered sugar, salt, flavoring and most of the whipping cream. 
Beat well, adding in small amounts of remaining whipping cream, until desired consistency is reached.
Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. 
Decorate with candy curls made from Andes Mints, if desired. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Brownie Mix/Recipe

I had to hold off posting this until my daughter opened her birthday gift, lucky for you she couldn't wait until Sunday!
Lots of fun stuff; perfume, new kitchen towels & dishcloths, Crate & Barrel gift card and the brownie mix with mint M&M's.

The girl likes mint but you can substitute any flavor of M&M's and change the extract to your liking. 
I think I will try coconut next, one of the boys likes coconut M&M's. And his wife likes the peanut butter flavored variety. This is starting to sound like a commercial for M&M's!
I also sent the birthday girl this pan for her brownies. 
These are my new favorite pans, worth every penny!
And don't you just love weck jars?
Enough with the free advertisements, on to the recipe...

Homemade Brownie Mix: (adapted from chef in training)
Ingredients:
6 c flour
4 t baking powder
4 t salt
8 c sugar
8 oz unsweetened special dark cocoa
2 c vegetable shortening

Directions:
In a LARGE bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
Add sugar and cocoa. Blend well.
With a pastry blender cut in shortening until evenly distributed.
Put in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. 
Use within 10-12 weeks.



Mint M&M Brownies:
Ingredients:
3 eggs, beaten
1 t mint extract
2 1/2 c BROWNIE MIX
1/2 c M&M's

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, vanilla and brownie mix.
Beat until smooth.
Spread batter into 8x8" pan. 

Sprinkle with M&M's.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until brownies are done.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Red Velvet Cookies

Confession time:
February's Dessert of the Month Club cookie was a recipe ripoff! 
I searched for quite awhile for a great Red Velvet Cookie recipe, even tried some out on the family but couldn't find one that I thought was better than the original Chocolate Puffs.
So I just added red food coloring to the recipe. Sometimes simple is the right answer.
Simple is my favorite.

Red Velvet Cookies
Ingredients:
1/2 c butter
3/4 c cocoa
1/4 c oil
2 c sugar
2 t vanilla

4 eggs
2 t red food coloring
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/8 t ground cinnamon
Powdered sugar - sifted

Directions:
Melt butter, add cocoa and oil stirring until smooth. Pour into large bowl; gradually add sugar, blending thoroughly. Add vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.

Stir in food coloring.
Sift flour, baking powder, and cinnamon; stir into the chocolate mixture.
Cover and chill 8 hours. Form into balls and roll in powdered sugar. 
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Granola

The Dessert of the Month club kick off last week was a great success! Thanks to those of you who ordered and I hope you enjoyed your granola.
I made another big batch today since the man eats this granola like it's popcorn!
There's nothing difficult about making granola but there are a few tricks if you like it clumpy.
And for my family...the clumpier the better!

Granola (12 cups)
Ingredients:
8 c old-fashioned rolled oats, toasted 
1 c chopped almonds
1 c chopped pecans
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c sunflower seeds
2 c coconut
1/2 c flax seed
1 t kosher salt - optional
1 c brown sugar
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 c honey
1 T cinnamon
1 t vanilla
1 egg white - room temp
1/2 c craisins - optional
1/2 c dried apricots, chopped - optional
Directions:
To toast oats, spread on 2 baking sheets & bake at 350º for 10 minutes. Cool.
In large bowl, combine next 7 ingredients. Add cooled oats.
Heat brown sugar, oil, honey and cinnamon over medium heat until mixture starts bubbling. 
Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir.
Pour over oat/nut mixture and stir well.
Whisk egg white until frothy. Add to granola.
Divide granola and spread on the two baking sheets.
Bake at 275º for 1 hour, stirring and rotating pans every 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir in dried fruits.
Cool completely, uncovered on baking sheets.
*Tip: Bake granola in the evening & cool overnight to deter snacking!
Store in airtight container. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Big News at Grandma B's

LOOKING FOR A GREAT GIFT IDEA 
FOR TEACHERS, PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS, BUSY MOMS OR YOURSELF?

JOIN GRANDMA B'S DESSERT OF THE MONTH CLUB!

THE SECOND THURSDAY OF THE MONTH GRANDMA B WILL BAKE, PACKAGE 
& FOR A LITTLE EXTRA DELIVER/MAIL A DIFFERENT TREAT EACH MONTH.
YOU CAN ORDER BY THE MONTH (ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE) 
OR A 3 MONTH, 6 MONTH, OR 12 MONTH MEMBERSHIP.

COST: $15/MONTH FOR PICK UP $20 FOR DELIVERY
5% DISCOUNT FOR MULTI MONTH PAYMENTS!

JANUARY
GRANOLA IN A SNOWFLAKE JAR
FEBRUARY
RED VELVET COOKIES
MARCH
CHOCOLATE MINT CUPCAKES
APRIL
BISCOTTI
MAY
ROSE SUGAR COOKIES
JUNE
CARROT CAKE JARS
JULY
S'MORE BROWNIES
AUGUST
LOADED OATMEAL COOKIES
SEPTEMBER
APPLE WALNUT CINNAMON SCONES
OCTOBER
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES
NOVEMBER 
PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES
DECEMBER
CINNAMON ROLLS

*Healthy* Breakfast Cookies

I finally had time to bake Keith's favorite cookies for his Birthday.
Only 1 month late!!
They aren't a very photogenic cookie but they have a great reputation.
While I was the baker at Keith's coffee shop I made this recipe at least 4 times a week.
It is one of very few recipes that I've found and did not alter the ingredients. Most likely because the recipe came from King Arthur.
*Healthy disclaimer: healthy ingredients does not equal diet cookie.
And please ignore the smudged bee, I found a new rubber stamp & was too impatient to let it dry.
I don't think Keith will mind!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies
1 csoft butter
3/4 cbrown sugar 
1 tcinnamon
1 tvanilla 
1/2 tbaking soda
1/2 tsalt
1 lgegg
1 1/2 cwhite whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cold-fashioned rolled oats 
1/2 cwhole flax meal
1/4 cwhole flax seeds
1 1/2 cdried cranberries 
1 cchopped walnuts

Directions:
Beat together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, baking soda, salt, and egg until fluffy.
Mix in the flour, oats, flax meal and seeds, dried fruit, and nuts.
Let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, for the oats to soften.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Portion 1/4 c dough into balls on baking sheets. Flatten each ball of dough slightly.
Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes, until golden brown.
Cool them on the baking sheets for 15 minutes, to allow them to set.
Move cookies to cooling rack, cool completely.