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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Classic Cookies: Oatmeal Raisin

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I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to share these. They are a constant in the kitchen of Hayley.  These are easy to pull together and don’t require refrigeration of the dough. Brett has said these are his favorite cookies ever… maybe you don’t know B, but that’s saying a lot coming from this guy.

After last post I’ve decided I should include more wonderful things about California (so far I’ve mentioned lemons, beaches, and the weather) to convince everyone I know to move to this glorious state. And if you’re already here, you can gloat right along with me.

Today, I’m featuring nature in California… first, our state flower:

That’s the California Poppy. Cute as can be. Happy and yellow-y orange and pops up everywhere to brighten your day!

Now, I work in an office building that is in an “office park” but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to see wildlife. Exhibit A:

Mama, Papa, and baby ducks! Just strolling past my window. On a daily basis! They have been fun to watch… they’re practically adults now! They grow up so fast!

Here’s a glimpse from one of my runs. There are trails upon trails upon trails for runners/bikers here. I am spoiled rotten. Also spoiled by weather suitable for running 12 mo/year. No need for a gym membership!

A lot of times I make a half batch of these cookies to A) keep us from becoming fat kids and B) use less of my ingredients supply.

For this batch, I used golden raisins, but I think I prefer the normal kind…

Recipe adapted from Grand Central Baking:

1 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda
 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
 
1 tsp salt
 
1 cup butter at room temp
 
1 cup sugar
 
1 cup packed light brown sugar
 
2 eggs
 
2 tsp vanilla
 
3 1/4 cups rolled oats
 
1 cup raisins
 
Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
 
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
 
In the bowl of  a mixer, mix together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (2-4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating the first before adding the second. Then add vanilla and mix.
 
Mix in the dry ingredients gradually in 2-3 batches. Then, in the bowl the dry ingredients were in, mix the oats and raisins with your hands. Mix in the oats and raisins to the dough all at once with the mixer on low, or with a rubber spatula.
 
Take about a 1.5-2 tbs clump of dough for each cookie about 2 inches apart and pat slightly on the top to just give the dough and idea of what it should be doing when it bakes. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the tray halfway.
 
After you pull them out of the oven, let them rest for a couple of minutes on the tray, then transfer them to a wire rack for cooling. You should probably eat one (or three) at this point too.
 
Enjoy!
 

Strawberry Country Cake

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So. I hear it’s been hot on the east coast. How have I heard? oh, well mostly because about 73% of my facebook newsfeed has been dominated by my east coast friends telling me how hot it is. I get it, yall. You want Satan to take his weather back. And here’s what I have to say about it:  Is this really that unusual for DC? I feel like we always get temperatures over 100 and they tell little old ladies to stay inside and drink lots of water and stay out of the heat if you can. Did the rest of you just block that out of your memory? It’s DC. That’s what you’re getting.

My other thought is: hey. It’s DC. That’s what you’re getting! Your own fault for living on the east coast in a city where it will be satanically and humid to boot. Which is why you should all probably plan a mass exodus to California. Exhibit A:

Yep. Currently in Walnut Creek it is 63. High of 83 today. Sunny. Wonderful. People here of course find a way to complain. But the fact of the matter is I do completely and entirely sympathize with you, East Coast. I lived that my whole life… worse even! Try mowing the lawn in Georgia once a week when it’s hot and humid and miserable. I get it. Which is why the weather forecast here amazes me. And I think is reason enough alone to get everyone off the East Coast and come to the Best Coast. I mean, West Coast…

I pulled this cake together amidst preparing a meal for a dinner party and it turned out great! The original recipe calls for enough batter to make two cakes. That’s unnecessary which is why I’m going to do my best to half it so you just make one cake… Unless of course you want to make two… then go here.

I don’t know what it was exactly that I loved so much about this cake. I feel like it’s one of the first cake recipes I’ve used in a while that felt like the cakes Mom and I used to make.  You know, where you had to use eggs at room temperature. And you need to sift the dry ingredients. Good old fashioned cake. Tastes like childhood.

For one cake:

6 tbs butter (3/4 stick) at room temp.

3/4 cup plus 2 tbs sugar

2 large eggs at room temp.

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs sour cream at room temp.

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/4 tsp orange zest

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tbs cornstarch

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and butter a cake pan (8” or 9”).

Cream together butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add eggs, one at a time. Then add sour cream, zests, and vanilla and beat until combined.

Sift together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly and mix until just combined and smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled

2 tbs sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1/2 pint fresh blueberries

Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until firm.

Slice the cake in half horizontally with a long knife. Use a spatula to spread half of the whipped cream on top of one of the 1/2 cakes. Top with half of the strawberries. Then place the other 1/2 cake on top and spread the rest of the whipped cream on top. Top the cake with the rest of the strawberries and then the blueberries. Enjoy immediately!

 

B$ Doughnuts!

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Oh, hello. Here’s something to know about this post: I have spent this week working on my personal statement for law school. So much pressure. I’m not going to bore you with the details except to say that it requires a lot of thinking and then controlling how you express that thinking into well formed sentences that make you sound smart and interesting.

blahhhh. just let me speak! I’m basically going to write every thought that comes into my head. and I don’t care if it’s horrible english or don’t sound smart. yall.

Yesterday was señor gaupo B$ meester bretty’s birthday!

spritzer.

 I mostly showered him with baked goods and other cooked things. We will really celebrate in a few weeks when we go to Lake Tahoe for a week (omigoshicantwait). Cory hung out with us on Tuesday and we went into the city. Here’s Cory being a stud:

I bought new sunnies yesterday. I’m mildly obsessed:

There are so many dishes in my sink right now. I’m scared to go home. Why are there so many dishes? Partially because yesterday I made DOGHNUTS FROM SCRATCH!!!!!!!! Hello. I found this recipe from shutterbean.com. I was sold on it because unlike most doughnut recipes, it uses buttermilk and requires no yeast… therefore no rising! It was my first experience frying anything and it was a great success!

Somehow I felt healthier eating these doughnuts than the storebought ones. It felt good to know exactly what was in them. Have I ever told you why I started baking so much? I used to work at CSPI which believes America eats too much processed food and sugar (truth). We weren’t allowed to have “junk food” in the office and I started thinking one day that if CSPI had its way, the US probably wouldn’t have candy bars or any of that… junk. But people being people would still want sweets! What would we do?! We would bake. That’s what. Yeah. So that’s why baking sweets is my favorite. It somehow allows me to justify it, and heck if you’re willing to do all that work, you deserve a cookie (or doughnut). And look at that! You just made a doughnut! I love when a plan comes together.

Go make these. You deserve it.

3.5 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

2 eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 stick of butter, melted and slightly browned, then cooled

(a lot of) vegetable oil for frying

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and another with paper towls

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. In another bowl, wisk together eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, and butter (make sure it’s coooool so you dont cook the egg!).

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour all of the wet ingredients in. Now fold it together with a spatula. This is important. Folding means taking the spatula to the bottom of the bowl and “lifting” the dry ingredients and fold them over the wet. Continue doing this until you have a sticky dough (some flour may still not be mixed in. this is ok!)

Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Pat the dough to be about 1 inch thick. Then use two cutters (shutterbean recommends one 3.25” and one 1.5”. I used a wide mouthed plastic cup and an empty bottle with about the right sized “hole.”) and cut our your doughnuts and holes and transfer them to the parchment baking sheet. Put the scraps together to keep making doughnuts until you’ve used all the dough. Place the doughnuts in the fridge.

Put vegetable oil in a deep skillet so that it’s about 1-1.5” deep. Use a candy thermometer and heat oil over medium high heat until thermometer reaches 365-370 degrees fahrenheit. While your oil is heating, make your glaze:

Vanilla glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1/8 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Ta-da!

When the oil is hot and ready, take the doughnuts out of the fridge. Use a spatula to put the biddies in the oil (no more than 3 at a time). Allow a few minutes to brown one side of the doughnut and then flip them (I hope you have tongs. they work well for this). Then get them out of the oil and place on towled baking sheet. Fry all your doughnuts and then holes (which will fry faster… duh) and while the doughnuts are still warm (again, use tongs) dip them in the glaze. I invite you to get creative and explore chocolate glaze options (with sprinkles?). I was thinking of using the chocolate glaze recipe from this post. But this would require more time than the hour I had before work…

Get ’em while they’re hot!! Enjoy!!

Jalepeño Jack Scones

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HEY YALL. hey. Happy Friday! I hope you all have great things to look forward to this weekend!

I got to start my weekend a little early and go out to dinner at Town Hall in SF last night with a current and former bossman. It was really good to see the former (Steve). He’s from Texas and a really big deal in consumer protection law. Smart man who is fun to listen to (and boy, can he talk).  I picked Town Hall upon Seleta’s suggestion, but also for the menu which features California cuisine–southern style.  This seems to be a hot trend right now, and who am I to argue? I had biscuits with red pepper jelly, crusted red trout and cauliflower (and some fried cheese grits!), and made-to-order beignets. Made me miss The South and made me miss working in eating in restaurants…

But piggybacking on the southern theme, today’s post is appropriate. Wednesday night I made Veggie Chili with Jalepeño Pepperjack scones. The chili was good, but let’s be honest, I could have just had the scones for dinner.

I brought these scones up at dinner last night. Dan (current bossman) told Steve about how I’m quite the baker. And then proceeded to engage in a discussion about how he thinks Martha Stewart is the worst thing to happen to Women’s Lib in the last 20 years. Listen, Dan. Take that back. Martha is simply showing people (man or woman!) how to cook. And occassionally craft (although, let’s be real, her projects are impossible). If it weren’t for Martha, I wouldn’t know how to fold the fitted sheet! Valuable life lessons. That’s what Martha gives.

cubed cheese and cooked jalepeños

 These are pretty basic scones and easy to make. So do it. For your happiness.

This recipe came from… you guessed it, Joy the Baker. And because I didn’t change the recipe one bit, I’m just going to send you to her… Recipe
 
Bon Appetit!
 

Chocolate Glazed Sprinkle Doughnut Cupcakes

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Hiya, hi! Hope you’re having a good Monday. I am still soaring on a weekend high and have yet to feel the Monday duldrums which is why I should write this post now as I’m sure by the end of today my tune may change… Best. Weekend. Ever! Spent lots of time with friends and family. Seleta is in the area, friends! Got to visit her in her new casa and meet Miss Vida Jewel. I neglected to take any photos this weekend which I am now regretting. But Vida is the cutest! And Miss Cleo the Clam! She’s a little hambone with lots to tell you about and lots of books to have you read. AND THE GIRL CAN SPELL. She’s not even 3 and she can sound words out and spell them. She is the smartest person I know.

After a night on the “town” (if you can qualify the nightlife of Walnut Creek as such) on Saturday, Brett, his friend Cory and I took an impromptu trip to Point Reyes on Sunday! Here’s why I love California. It’s 1 in the afternoon on a Sunday and you can decide to hop in the car and within an hour be in GORGEOUS Northern Cali–Land of delicious oysters and cheese! Again, no pictures. That was dumb. But we stopped in the town of Point Reyes Station and walked around a bit. Had some delicious lunch on the patio and then went to the beach. Cory made driftwood beach art and Brett hunted for seashells while I laid in the sand just taking it all in. Northern Cali beaches are not sunbathing beaches. They’re adorned with cliffs and fog and a brisk breeze. There are signs warning you that waves are too big for swimming (including something called “sneaker waves” which I really appreciated that title of) and there are SHARKS. But we were the only people on the beach! Where else does that happen?

Update: Brett managed to sneak a few phone pics:

There are so many sweet towns in Northern Cali I can’t wait to explore. But wait. Let’s talk doughnut cupcakes. I decided to make these as the dessert I brought to Seleta’s because Cleo loves cupcakes and doughnuts so this seemed like a perfect solution! I think next time I’d use a little less nutmeg but everyone seemed to enjoy them. The chocolate glaze and sprinkles really sell them. Heck, that combo could sell anything.

There is barely any butter in these which, as a girl from the south, made me skeptical. But it worked out wonderfully.

This recipe only makes 8 cupcakes which for this occassion was a good amount. But we were a little sad not to have any leftover. There’s no frying of these, what makes them doughnut-y is their texture. They’re light and springy. Seleta said it best: think cake doughnuts…

And then of course there’s the glaze and sprinkles that makes  them doughnut-y! YUM. It makes extra glaze which I tried to save for a couple days but I couldn’t figure out what to do with it (besides eat it by the spoonful). Any ideas?

Voila! Glazing them was fun. Sprinkles were a little hard to figure out. I ended up dumping a bunch in a shallow dish and dipping the cupcakes in them.

Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker:

For the doughnut muffins:

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg (maybe a little less)

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes

1/4 cup milk, scalded

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

For the chocolate glaze:

1/4 cup unsalted butter

2 tbs milk

2 tsp light corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Sprinkles!

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease muffin pan (again, only makes 8 muffins).

Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, sugar. Add the cold butter cubes and work in with your hands. Make sure to work it in really well (don’t be afraid of butter warming because of your hands) so that it’s a slightly-finer-than-coarse meal. Set aside.

In a small pan, heat the milk until almost boiling and remove from heat (keep a close eye as this can happen quickly). Whisk together yogurt, egg, and vanilla. Add milk (test the temperature of the milk to make sure it’s not hot enough to cook the egg… but still warm).

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated. This is especially important with these cupcakes as you’re really trying to get a springy texture and over-mixing will make them dense.

Spoon the batter into unlined cupcake tins (filling about half way). Bake for 8-10 minutes (I did more like 12) until muffins are lightly golden, springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cupcakes rest while you make the glaze:

To make the glaze:

In a small pan over medium heat, combine milk, butter, light corn syrup, and vanilla until butter is just melted. Remove from heat and add your chopped chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted. Then whisk in the powdered sugar until you get a well incorporated glaze.

Dip the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze and let rest on a cooling rack for a few minutes to let the glaze set just a little. Then dip the tops into the sprinkles and ta-da! Chocolate glazed sprinkle cupcakes! Enjoy!

Ode to the crab