Monday, November 14, 2011

My Last Baked Good Monday

I made cherry shortbread cookies for my last Baked Good Monday at work before I left. I promised to share the recipe, so here it is. It is super easy. Enjoy!

Cherry Shortbread Cookies

1 cup+2 Tbsp. flour
1 stick unsalted butter, sliced and chilled
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dried cherries

1.) Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (Note, I did not do this and had no problem getting the cookies off the sheet. I didn't grease the pan either, there's enough butter to keep them from sticking.) Using a food processor, mix the flour, butter, sugar, and salt for 20 seconds. Add the cherries and pulse until chopped, 20 seconds more.
2.) Turn out the mixture onto a work surface and gather into a smooth, compact ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 7"x9" rectangle, about 1/4" thick; cut into 12 rectangles. (Note, I found this made quite a bit more than 12.) Prick each cookie three times with a fork.
3.) Using a metal spatula, place the cookies about 1" apart on the prepared cookie sheet and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Bake until light golden-brown, 15-18 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple and Pumpkin Pie

1 pie crust(I used Safeway brand because I don't make homemade crust and that was the only brand I had available to me without any partially hydrogenated fat in the ingredient list)
1lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" chunks
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Roll the dough into a 9" pie place and crimp the edge decoratively. Chill the shell while making the filling.

In a saucepan, combine the apples, 1/3 cup water, and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil and simmer the apples, covered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until they are tender. Transfer the apples to a bowl, mash them with a fork or potato masher, and let them cool slightly. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs until they are combined, add the sugar gradually, beating until the mixture is thick and pale, and beat in the apples, the pumpkin puree, sour cream, cinnamon, and the cloves until the filling is combined well.

Turn the filling into the chilled shell, bake the pie in the lower third of a preheated 400 degree oven for 1 hour, or until it is just set in the center and let it cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. (Note, I wrapped the crust in foil at the beginning of baking to keep it from burning and removed it for the last 15 minutes and it turned out perfect.)

Browned-Butter Shortbread

Made these for work on Sunday and they were a big hit. I promised to post the recipe, so here it is:

12 Tbsp. unsalted butter, slightly softened, divided*
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt*

*Note-I used salted butter and left out the salt and it turned out just fine.

1.) In heavy 2qt. saucepan, melt half the butter over low heat. Cook 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until butter solids at bottom of pan are a rich brown color and butter has a nutty aroma. (Browned butter can go from perfect to burned in seconds, so pay close attention to this and pull it off the heat as soon as you see it's ready.) Pour browned butter into a small bowl; refrigerate until almost firm, about 35 minutes.
2.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat sugar with cooled browned butter and remaining softened butter until creamy.
3.) With hands, mix flour and salt into butter mixture just until crumbs form. Pat shortbread crumbs into ungreased 9" round cake pan or tart pan with removable bottom.
4.) Bake shortbread 40-45 minutes until browned around the edge. Let cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.
5.) Remove shortbread from pan to cutting board. While still warm, cut shortbread into 16 wedges. Cool wedges completely on wire rack. Store cookies in tightly covered container.
Makes 16 150 cal./9 g. fat per cookie

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Perfecting Chicken Divan Part Two

My recipe for Chicken Divan:
1 large cooked chicken breast, skinless, boneless, shredded
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut into small pieces, including the stem which I peel first
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
Sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded, to taste. I bought slices from my local deli that weighed in at .18lb, it was four slices
Curry powder, pepper, salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Shredded Cheddar cheese to top

Steam the broccoli until al dente. Place in the bottom of a 9x9 or 8x8 baking pan. Place shredded chicken on top. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add flour and whisk for a couple minutes over medium heat. Slowly add milk in 1/2 cup increments, stirring to combine after each addition. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly until thickened. Remove pan from heat and add cheese, seasonings and lemon juice and whisk to melt and mix. Adjust to taste. Pour over mixture in pan and heat in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour until bubbly and browning on top. Top with more shredded cheese and allow to melt. Serve. Leftovers can be frozen and thawed out with no real difference in texture or taste. Makes 4 servings.
Note: The original recipe uses a breadcrumb topping, which I have never cared for. I choose to leave it off, but feel free to make one for it if you wish. I would recommend panko instead of the normal ones if I was going to.

Perfecting Chicken Divan Part One

I have tried for years to perfect my mother's chicken divan recipe. I love her recipe, but since I have become lactose intolerant, I can't eat it anymore. Her recipe calls for cream of chicken soup, which is now off-limits to me. How to make this delish casserole without the use of the soup or the copious amount of mayonnaise that it calls for? I tried other stuff over the years but never found the right texture or flavor. Until I had a brilliant idea: Bechamel sauce! I usually use this when making homemade macaroni and cheese but I thought, why not try it with chicken divan? So I did, and it worked! I made a half batch which will be four servings for me and will freeze half to eat at a later time. In part two of this post I will give out the recipe.