Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Minute Pizza Sauce

This is the easiest, tastiest pizza sauce you can make in under five minutes. Not to mention cheaper than that stuff in a jar. And, you know what is in it. A plus for me, since I mostly try to avoid processed food when at all possible. I try to buy organic when I can, aka when the budget allows. 

This is generally my go to pizza sauce when I haven't made my oven-dried tomato pizza sauce. I'll try to post that one soon. That's also easy to make, but takes about 2 hours to bake. If you have fresh basil, you can add a few leaves to the sauce or tear the leaves and put them on top of the cheese. Don't you love the smell of fresh basil? 

Easy Pizza Sauce
makes enough for two 12" pizzas

1 cup fire roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of garlic

Using a blender, on high, blend until well combined. About a minute. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Lace Cookies

I have a huge notebook full of recipes that I have cut out of magazines and I've only made a few of the recipes. I've made it a goal to start making them and organizing them. They are currently a huge mess. At one point in time, they were well organized. But then a certain three year old found it and in seconds, it was a mess. Needless to say, I haven't re-organized it. I have, however, put it up high out of reach of little hands. Lesson learned. Do you have recipes cut out of magazines? Are they neatly in a notebook or folder or a complete mess like mine?

I've been eying these cookies for some time now and finally decided to make them. You'll like the crispiness of this buttery cookie. When cooked until crisp, they melt in your mouth, but when slightly undercooked, they are chewy and tend to stick to your teeth for what seems like hours. 

These were fairly easy to make and will make a nice addition to my Christmas cookies this year. I would list these under candy instead of a cookie because of it's brittle like texture and toffee taste. 

The nuttiness from the pecans and the toffee like texture would pair well with a rich coffee ice cream. Or you could offset the sweetness with a steaming cup of tea. 

Lace Cookies adapted from RealSimple, Sara Quessenberry

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream (can substitute greek yogurt)
1/3 cup very finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350° F. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugars and cream and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans, flour and salt. 

Drop level teaspoons of the warm batter, spacing them 4 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. If the batter cools between batches and can't be scooped, rewarm it slightly. 

Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on the sheets until firm, about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 


Monday, February 3, 2014

Crumb Coffee Cake


I belong to a mom's group and once a month we get together for an event called Breakfast Buddies. Everyone brings a dish to share, the mom's talk and the kids play. It's a really nice even and we rotate houses, so it's not always at the same person's house. They don't know it, but they have become my guinea pigs. We were supposed to get 4-9 inches of snow, so I wasn't sure I was going to make something, but I decided to make something whether we got snow or not. I made Crumb Coffee Cake.

The cake part isn't that sweet, which is good for breakfast or anytime really. I know it's coffee cake, but I'm not a big coffee drinker so it paired nicely with a hot cup of tea. I decided to bake them in muffin tins instead of an 8x8 pan. I figured that would be easier for people to grab as oppose to having to slice it up. I baked them for 25 minutes until they were golden brown. 

The recipe calls for cake flour, but honestly I don't think it would make a difference in the topping. I make a topping very similar for an apple crisp and it turns out quite nicely with all purpose flour. You can make cake flour by adding two tablespoons of cornstarch for every cup of all purpose flour. 

Although I'm sure it would have looked pretty, I didn't dust with confectioner's sugar. It doesn't need to be any sweeter than it already is. 

Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen

Coffee Crumb Cake
Crumb Topping
1/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (2 2/3 ounces) dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp table salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups (7 ounces) cake flour
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
For the Topping:
Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine.  Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
For the Cake:
Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Cut 16-inch length parchment paper and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width.  Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish. Or use muffin cups. 
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or you can do this with a handheld mixer), mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine.  With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping as necessary.
Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer.  Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces (use both hands to break apart the crumb dough, rolling the broken dough between your thumb and forefinger) and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center.
Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes.  Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.