Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

Fall comes to subtly to Southern California. Summer lingers as long as possible, however, come September, our days are warm but the mornings and evenings have a nice chill to the air. While we enjoyed quick bowls of cereal and ice cold smoothies for breakfast during the summer, it is time to shift to warm, hearty fall breakfasts.

This baked oatmeal is a perfect breakfast for the upcoming autumn mornings. Hearty oats, fruit, and nuts combine to make a tasty and pretty healthy start to your day. We like to sprinkle brown sugar on our oatmeal, so we topped ours with a brown sugar streusel before baking so you don't need to add anything but some milk or cream if you like. The leftovers do reheat well for an easy breakfast you can make once and eat all week although we definitely liked the leftovers much better with that drizzle of milk or cream.
Of course, once we hit on a good basic recipe, we start planning all the variations we would like to try. Apples and cinnamon came to mind for an "apple pie" oatmeal, perfect since it's almost apple season. We all like peanut butter on our oats and will definitely try swirling in some peanut butter before baking one morning. Although summer is just about over, a version full of fresh peaches and berries would be delicious, and Boy Mimi (one of the coconut lovers) suggested some toasted coconut, chopped fresh mango and a dollop of vanilla yogurt on top for a tropical version. The choices are endless, and this easy breakfast will be making many appearances on our table year round.

Baked Oatmeal

3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
¾ to 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
**you can use any combination of fruits that you like, just put some on bottom and some on the top to distribute evenly**

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup flour
generous ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl or food processor until it is the texture of coasre meal. Store in the refrigerator so the butter stays cold.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make streusel and put in refrigerator.
2. Grease or spray a 1 and 1/2-quart casserole dish with either butter or cooking spray.
3. In a medium bowl, toss together the oats, half of the nuts, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. In a separate small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, milk, egg, melted butter, and the vanilla.
5. Place the sliced banana pieces in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.
6. Sprinkle about two-thirds of the blueberries over the top of the bananas, then cover the blueberries with the oat mixture.
7. Drizzle the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the milk as evenly as possible.
8.  Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the oats followed by the streusel topping.
9.  Bake the oatmeal for 35-40  min, until the top is golden brown and the oats are almost set, but slightly soft in the center. They will continue to firm up as they cool, and still be creamy. 
Printable recipe

This Chick Cooks
Foodie Friday  at Designs by Gollum

Monday, September 19, 2011

Candy Corn Cookies

 Candy Corn is one of those things that you love it or you hate it. I am definitely a candy corn lover. It's one of those treats from childhood that I looked forward to each fall, because the only time I got them was in my trick or treat bag. Even though as a kid, we ate all we possibly could in one night, I do have to admit that they are really sweet and a little goes a long way. These Candy Corn cookies have the pretty, layered look of the candies and just the right amount of sweetness. I saw these cookies all over the internet last fall, but got this recipe form Julie at The Sporadic Cook. Since sugar cookies ship pretty well, I know these will be the perfect fall treat to send to Mini Me to help her with her studies.

Candy Corn Cookies
via The Sporadic Cook
1 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
1 to 2 tablespoons orange zest
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Orange and Yellow gel food color

In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar, egg and orange zest with an electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.

Divide dough into thirds. Tint one portion orange and one portion yellow; leave remaining portion plain.  Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap and press the yellow dough into the bottom of the pan in an even layer. top this with the orange dough followed by the white dough. Chill until firm, about 1 hr.

Heat oven to 375. Using the plastic wrap remove the dough from the pan. Slice the loaf into 1/4 inch slices. Then cut each slice into triangles.(I didn't take any how-to picture so I made the diagram below to illustrate the process. I took the two end pieces (A) and placed them together along the straight edge to form a 4th triangle. I lightly rolled over the seam with a rolling pin). Place triangles on ungreased cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. 

Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
printable recipe

Links: Foodies Friday at Designs by Gollum
These Chicks Cooked

Monday, September 5, 2011

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Back to school is cookie time at Mimi's Kitchen. When the kids were younger  cookies were a great surprise in their lunch box or a quick after school snack.  Although everyone is pretty grown up now, we are still busy baking cookies- some to send to Mini Me when she is away at college and some for Boy Mimi to grab on his way to soccer practice. Eric at Quirk Books was nice enough to offer me a new cookie book to review, and we can never say no to a new cookbook around here, especially one filled with cookies. The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando was the perfect book for us here at Mimi's Kitchen since everyone likes to bake cookies (except for Mr. Mimi, who just enjoys his title as official taste-tester).  
Stacy sure knows her cookies, The Cookiepedia got thumbs up from all four cookie bakers in the kitchen. Boy Mimi made the chocolate chip cookies and they really were perfect- crispy on the edges and chewy throughout, without being cakey or undercooked in the center. Mini Me made the Cornmeal Cookies with Rosemary. We all love anything made with cornmeal and these were no exception. They were light, buttery and crunchy, and the rosemary garnish complimented the lemon zest without tasting too floral.  Mimi Jr. and I made the triple chocolate cookies as the final test recipe. These cookies were a family favorite, fudgy and moist almost like a brownie, with a deliciously crackly top.

What we liked about this book beside the delicious and easy to follow recipes was that it included the required classics, like chocolate chip, as well as some new cookies that we can't wait to try, like the pistachio butter cookies. It was well organized by cookie category, from "buttery" to "fruity" to "fancy", and on the insides of the of front and back cover were helpful conversions and substitutions. All the cookies have a picture, so you know that your matcha cookies are actually supposed to be bright green, and the spiral binding allows the book to lay open flat to your recipe without the pages flopping over.


Triple Chocolate Cookies
     The Cookiepedia

1/34 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 Ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter , room temperature
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (8oz) semisweet chocolate chips

1. Sift the flour, cocoa powder. baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set  it
2. Set a small pot of water on the stove and bring it to a simmer.  Place choppe4d chocolate in a metal or heatproof blass bowl and set bowl top the pot. Stir the chocolate until it's fully melted and looks smooth. Remove from the heat. (We melted our chocolate in the microwave)
3. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes, until they're light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix to combine.  Pour in the melted chocolate and continue beating.
4. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips half at a time, and mix on low speed, until just incorporated.
5. Cover the dough and refrigerate for about 15 to 20 minutes, until it's firm enough to scoop.  Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or siilicone baking mats.
6.Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on the sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  They'll appear soft, but they'll firm up once cooled.  Set the sheet on a wire rack for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies directly onto the rack to cool completely.
Makes 5 dozen cookies
We all thought this was a great book to add to our cookbook shelf and would be a great gift for anyone, from a beginning baker to someone who wants to add some new recipes to their collection.  You can find this book at http://www.quirkbooks.com/, Amazon and Barnes & Noble