Monday, November 30, 2009

Pumpkin Waffles with Orange Walnut Butter and Nutmeg Syrup

I made these waffles over the weekend and loved them! I ripped the recipe out of a magazine last November and finally got around to making them. I am glad I did! I loved the pumpkin flavor of the waffles. It was just the right amount of pumpkin. The compound butter was amazingly delicious, too.

The star of the show, in my opinion, was the nutmeg syrup. Oh, my, YUMMY! It was so wintery to me... the perfect way to start December. So bust out your waffle irons and welcome December with this delicious breakfast!

Pumpkin Waffles
Simple & Delicious Sept/Oct 2008

1 cup plus 2 TBSP AP flour
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 TBSP butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine milk through butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
Bake in waffle iron per manufacturer's directions.

Orange Walnut Butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 TBSP grated orange peel

Combine all ingredients until well blended.

Nutmeg Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 TBSP AP flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups cold water
2 TBSP butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp rum extract (optional)

In large saucepan, combine sugar through water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and extracts.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Cannoli

The Daring Baker challenge this month was Cannoli, an fried pastry shell filled with a sweetened ricotta mixture. No baking this month, just deep frying! :)

The dough wasn't difficult to make or to shape, thanks to $2.50 cannoli forms. The filling was easy, too, and I added a bit of cocoa powder for a nice chocolate flavor.

I enjoyed these, but in the future would probably use a cream cheese mixture or a pastry cream for the filling. I think I may only like ricotta in savory dishes.

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Lidisano’s Cannoli
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time:
Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.
Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)
Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli
Assemble – 20–30 minutes


2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.

For stacked cannoli:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.

1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

1/2 cup (123 grams/4.34 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1/2 cup (113 grams/4.04 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (122.5 grams/4.32 ounces) canned pumpkin, drained like ricotta
3/4 cup (75 grams/2.65 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 to 1 teaspoon (approx. 1.7 grams/approx. 0.06 ounces) pumpkin pie spice (taste)
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 2 grams/approx. 0.08 ounces) pure vanilla extract
6-8 cannoli shells

1. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta and mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl, cover and chill until it firms up a bit. (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

2. Fill the shells as directed above. I dipped the ends of the shells in caramelized sugar and rolled them in toasted, chopped pecans.

- Dough must be stiff and well kneaded

- Rolling the dough to paper thinness, using either a rolling pin or pasta machine, is very important. If the dough is not rolled thin enough, it will not blister, and good cannoli should have a blistered surface.

- Initially, this dough is VERY stubborn, but keep rolling, it eventually gives in. Before cutting the shapes, let the dough rest a bit, covered, as it tends to spring back into a smaller shapes once cut. Then again, you can also roll circles larger after they’re cut, and/or into ovals, which gives you more space for filling.

- Your basic set of round cutters usually doesn’t contain a 5-inch cutter. Try a plastic container top, bowl etc, or just roll each circle to 5 inches. There will always be something in your kitchen that’s round and 5-inches if you want large cannoli.

- Oil should be at least 3 inches deep and hot – 360°F-375°F, or you’ll end up with greasy shells. I prefer 350°F - 360°F because I felt the shells darkened too quickly at 375°F.

- If using the cannoli forms, when you drop the dough on the form into the oil, they tend to sink to the bottom, resulting in one side darkening more. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently lift and roll them while frying.

- DO NOT crowd the pan. Cannoli should be fried 2-4 at a time, depending on the width of your saucepan or deep fryer. Turn them once, and lift them out gently with a slotted spoon/wire skimmer and tongs. Just use a wire strainer or slotted spoon for flat cannoli shapes.

- When the cannoli turns light brown - uniform in color, watch it closely or remove it. If it’s already a deep brown when you remove it, you might end up with a really dark or slightly burnt shell.

- Depending on how much scrap you have left after cutting out all of your cannoli shapes, you can either fry them up and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a crispy treat, or let the scraps rest under plastic wrap and a towel, then re-roll and cut more cannoli shapes.

- Push forms out of cannoli very gently, being careful not to break the shells as they are very delicate. DO NOT let the cannoli cool on the form, or you may never get it off without it breaking. Try to take it off while still hot. Hold it with a cloth in the center, and push the form out with a butter knife or the back of a spoon.

- When adding the confectioner’s sugar to the filling..TASTE. You may like it sweeter than what the recipe calls for, or less sweet, so add in increments.

- Fill cannoli right before serving! If you fill them an hour or so prior, you’ll end up with soggy cannoli shells.

- If you want to prepare the shells ahead of time, store them in an airtight container, then re-crisp in a 350°F (176 °C) oven for a few minutes, before filling.

- Practice makes perfect. My first batch of shells came out less than spectacular, and that’s an understatement. As you go along, you’ll see what will make them more aesthetically pleasing, and adjust accordingly when rolling. My next several batches turned out great. Don’t give up!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you all have a wonderful turkey day! I am so thankful for all of you who take the time to stop by and read what I have to say, even if it isn't much some weeks! Now get off the computer and go enjoy some yummy food!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TWD: All in One Holiday Bundt Cake

This is the perfect choice for Tuesdays with Dorie this week! All in One Holiday Bundt Cake is filled with all the ingredients that are perfect for this time of year. Cranberries, pumpkin, apples, pecans, and all the yummy spices that go along with them; ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. This bundt cake is so easy to mix up and it tastes phenomenal!

I used crasins instead of cranberries because of my own error. I bought two bags of cranberries a week ago, threw them in the freezer, and forgot to take them out when mixing the cake. Since the cranberries are supposed to be chopped and I didn't feel like chopping frozen berries, I used craisins instead. I think it still turned out great and now I have cranberries to make other goodies with!

Thanks to Britin of The Nitty Britty for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

SMS: Raised Waffles with Warm Brown Sugar Bananas

I was thrilled when Raised Waffles with Warm Brown Sugar Bananas was chosen for this weeks Sweet Melissa Sunday. This recipe was my number 2 choice when it was my turn to host SMS. I love waffles, I love bananas, and what's not to love when you put the two together?

I prefer the waffle recipe I usually use, but these waffles were a close second. I really enjoyed the banana topping and would occasionally substitute it for the blueberry syrup that tops my waffles. :) This is high praise considering that in my house waffles ONLY come with homemade blueberry syrup!

Thanks to Lauren of Fried Pickles and Ice Cream for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

I made these muffins a couple weeks ago and the picture has been sitting forgotten on my camera. Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch posted these same muffins yesterday and it gave me the motivation to finally get this post up!

These muffins were fantastic and I can't wait to make them again. Shelby added cinnamon chips to hers and I am excited to try that variation!


Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins
Betty Crocker Fall Baking 2008

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Coarse sugar, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

In large bowl mix dry ingredients.
In another bowl mix pumpkin, oil, craisins and eggs. Mix dry ingredients into wet until just moistened.

Divide batter into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

TWD: Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies

YAY! I finally got a TWD completed! Sure, I just baked these a few hours ago, but at least I got them made and am getting my post up on Tuesday. Not too shabby. :)

These cookies were fantastic! I know molasses is a tricky ingredient. People usually either love it or hate it. I personally LOVE molasses cookies, so I knew that I would love these. This particular recipe calls for black pepper to add additional spice but I omitted that because I wasn't sure if the kids (or me for that matter!) would like it.

Thanks to Pamela of Cookies with Boys for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin

I know I have said this before but I LOVE pork tenderloin. It is probably my favorite meat to make and to eat. I am always on the lookout for new pork recipes and this one knocked my socks off. It was SO good! It may be my new number one pork tenderloin recipe. Give it a try... it is truly delicious!

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin
Taste of Home Holiday Collection
3 TBSP soy sauce
3 TBSP sherry or chicken broth
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 garlic clove, minced
2 pork tenderloins, 3/4 lb each
Combine first 6 ingredients in a ziploc bag. Add pork; turn to coat. Refrigerate 4-6 hours (I refrigerated overnight).
Drain and discard marinade. Grill pork, covered, over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160.
*I baked the tenderloin at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mushroom Blue Cheese Tenderloin

Nathan loves blue cheese. I can't stand it. Nathan loves mushrooms. I will eat them, but could live without them as a main ingredient. I don't like to think of myself as a picky eater, but there are definately foods that I won't eat. But, I love my husband very much and I think he should get foods that he loves every once in a while.

This meal was good and Nathan loved it. I ate it without the blue cheese added in and liked it as well. The steak itself was incredibly flavorful, too.

I used flank steak instead of beef tenderloin strictly because of the price. A 3lb tenderloin was going to cost me $42 and I just wasn't willing to spend that on a Wednesday night dinner! It was wonderful with the flank steak but I for a special occasion, I'm sure the tenderloin would be worth the money.

Mushroom Blue Cheese Tenderloin
Taste of Home Dec/Jan 09

1 1/2 cups soy sauce
3/4 cup worcestershire
1 beef tenderloin (3 1/2 - 4 lbs)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP pepper
1 can (10 1/2 oz) beef broth

1/2 cup butter
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 oz) crumbled blue cheese
1 TBSP worcestershire
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
4 green onions, chopped

In a large Ziploc bag, combine soy sauce and worcestershire. Add beef; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning occasionally.

Drain and discard marinade. Rub the beef with garlic and pepper; place in roasting pan. Add broth to pan. Bake, uncovered, at 425 for 45-55 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness. (145 for medium rare, 160 for medium, 170 for well done.)

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and garlic; saute unitl tender. Add the cheese, worcestershire, and caraway seeds. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Stir in onions; heat through. Serve sauce with beef.

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