Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Oh yes, they smell as good as they look!!  My blogger friend, Chris, at Café Sucré Farine seems to pull the most amazing recipes out of the air.  This muffin recipe is no exception.  With grandsons coming this next week, I put these into the freezer immediately, because when it comes to cinnamon, I have no self-control.  But, I can almost guarantee you, they are delicious.  I hope you will check Chris' blog, stay there a while and find a recipe or two to try.

Snickerdoodle Muffins with Doodlesnicker Butter
  from the recipe file of Café Sucré Farine

Cinnamon/Sugar mixture
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Muffin Batter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 stick butter, softened for the Doodlesnicker Butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the first 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  Mix well to combine and set aside.

Spray 12 muffin pan cups liberally with cooking spray.  Using your index finger wrapped with a paper towel, rub inner surfaces of muffin cups to ensure complete coverage.  Sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon of the sugar/cinnamon mixture into each muffin cup.  Holding the pan over the sink, tilt the pan in all directions to coat each sup with the sugar cinnamon mixture.  When cups are coated, discard any loose sugar into the sink.

Beat butter and sugar.  Add egg and beat well.  Combine milk and sour cream.  Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk mixture, beating just until combined.

Spoon by rounded teaspoons into greased muffin cups, sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture over each teaspoon full.  For me, it took about 4 teaspoons of dough to fill each cup and use up all the dough.  Continue until each muffin cup is 2/3 full.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the sugar mixture over the top of each muffin.  Reserve the rest of the sugar for the Doodlesnicker Butter.  (You should have approx. 1/4 cup left.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes until springy when gently touched on top.  (This initial burst of heat helps the muffins rise tall and round.)

Remove from oven.  Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove and place on a cooling rack.

Doodlesnicker Butter

Place remaining sugar in a microwave-safe bowl.

Add 2 teaspoons of the butter and microwave on high for 10-20 seconds or until butter is melted.  Remove from microwave and stir to combine.  Mixture should be like a thick paste.

Allow to cool then add to softened butter, swirling through butter just a bit.  Serve at room temperature with the muffins.

I was happy to see that this recipe called for nutmeg.  Nutmeg was my mother's favorite spice.  She used it in dumpling soups and whenever she had an excuse to try it in something new.  This is her nutmeg grater which is probably close to 50 years old, if not older.  I can almost guarantee, you have not smelled nutmeg the way it should smell until you grate it yourself.  The whole nutmegs can be ordered because I find them harder to find in the spice aisle of your local grocer.  That little lid on top holds the one nutmeg that you are currently grating.  It even has a place to hang on the wall.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We found some beautiful, reasonable fresh tuna at Whole Foods in Orlando, so we had to make this recipe again.  Every time we eat this, we remark how fantastic it tastes.  This sauce is so very, very good.  It would taste good on pork or chicken.  On anything.  I hope if you have to chance to try this, you will.  You will not be disappointed.  This has been a favorite for over 10 years and it never fails to amaze me as to how good it is.  Here is a repeat worth repeating. 


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tuna with a Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce

This is another favorite recipe of ours that I have not blogged about yet.  We have been making this cream sauce for tuna since 2002.  It is that good!!  It was found on Epicurious  at that time.  In the past, we have even used this sauce on salmon.  Today, we vary it somewhat, because a trip to the big city was just not in the cards.  So, instead of fresh shiitake mushrooms which I saw last week at Whole Foods....darn...we are using Portobellos which are really, just as tasty.

The recipe is for 6, but we are cutting it down for the two of us.  Other than changing the mushrooms, we follow it exactly and it is always a winner!!

Pan-Seared Tuna with Ginger-Shiitake Cream Sauce

6 6-ounce tuna steaks, each about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons peanut oil

3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat over to 200 degrees F.  Sprinkle one side of tuna steaks with pepper.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy, large skillet over high heat.  Place tuna steaks, pepper side down in hot oil and sear 2 minutes.  Turn tuna over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 2 minutes for rare.  Transfer tuna to rimmed baking sheet to keep warm in oven.

Add butter, sliced green onions, cilantro, ginger and chopped garlic to same skillet and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Mix in mushrooms and soy sauce and simmer 30 seconds.  Add whipping cream and simmer until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, about 3 minutes.  Stir in lime juice.  Spoon sauce onto plates; arrange tuna atop sauce.  Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro springs, if desired.

The Trout says this sauce would taste great on anything.  I know some of you do not like cilantro.  I truly believe there is no substitute for this herb.  As you can see by the photo, we did throw in a few shrimp because we just love them!!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cookies using the best vanilla ever

It's like I have been lost somewhere, but I am back today!!  A lot of knitting and planning have been going on.  Daughter number 2 and family will be here for Christmas for a couple of days, so have been planning some meals for that occasion.  I also have had a deep desire to bake some cookies.  Not many for the two of us, but since family is coming, I do want to have some on hand.

I have been intrigued by the cookie "Melting Moments."  It has got to be one of the easiest cookies I have ever attempted.  It also might rank right up there at the top of the BEST list.  I noticed the recipe on The View From Great Island during some searching and then I found that many, many people have the same recipe, only different.  It also seemed to be a recipe that is quite popular in UK posts.  Many people have added their special "calling card" to the recipe and I can see how that is entirely possible. 

I added my own twist to this recipe, adding an addition of Singing Dog Vanilla  paste which was given to me by the gracious owner of Singing Dog Vanilla this summer.  I have been looking for a good recipe for using the vanilla paste, and this frosting does take it over the top.  Yes, Singing Dog Vanilla, I am planning on vanilla ice cream with your luscious liquid paste very soon.

I want to show you the plate I have my cookies on.  It was designed and made by my friend Stephen Nathan of Casa Indianola Creations in Goodyear, Arizona.  I love bringing it out at Christmas and serving the best of the best cookies on it.  Thank you Steve, for your talent.

Melting Moments
Inspired by The View from Great Island

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

Blend together the soft butter, salt, sugar, cornstarch and flour until everything is well combined.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  It is a soft dough and chilling makes it easier to handle.

Turn oven to 350 degrees.

Using a small spoon or scoop, roll balls of dough in your hand and set them on ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are just turning light brown.  The tops will not brown.  Remove from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then carefully remove to a cooling rack.  Let them cool completely before frosting.


At this point, you can either sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Singing Vanilla Bean Paste or 1 teaspoon very good vanilla extract
Cream or milk to thin
grated semi-sweet chocolate to garnish

Make the frosting by mixing the butter, sugar, vanilla paste and enough cream to make a spreadable frosting.  Do not let it get too thin.  Top with grated chocolate.

The use of cornstarch in the cookie makes for a light, meltaway cookie.  We enjoyed it last evening with a glass of Irish Creme after dinner.  The taste combination was just about perfect.  

This would be a perfect cookie for afternoon coffee or with a night glass or brandy after dinner.  I see no reason to limit this cookie to Christmas as it is so simple and quick to prepare.  Enjoy.