November 18, 2010

Nuts about Nutty Granola

I've been making this granola for quite awhile now.  It is super simple to make and oh, so yummy!  :)  All you have to do is throw a few ingredients in a bowl, stir, bake, and enjoy.  It has a wonderful, sweet maple flavor with a touch of salt.  A great slightly-sweet, slightly-salty combo.  The granola isn't overly sweet, and it is great that it is made with a natural sweetener like maple syrup.

My favorite way to eat this granola is on top of honey or blueberry Noosa yoghurt, a local Colorado yoghurt.  (It is really yummy, too, look for it in your area.) 

The recipe calls for chopped almonds, but I like the texture of sliced almonds, so I use those instead.  The recipe has the option to add raisins.  I tried it once, but didn't really like it.  I didn't like it because the raisins go in to bake with the rest of the granola and come out hard and dry.  If you would like to add raisins, I recommend adding them once the granola is baked.

Nutty Granola

Cooking spray
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing well to coat everything with the maple syrup.  Spread on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

Hat Tip - The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger

November 7, 2010

Cranberry and Apple Crumble

I love a good apple crumble/crisp!  I don't feel as guilty about eating dessert when it contains fruit.  Don't you just love that logic?  :)

I came across this recipe in one of my many checked out library cookbooks.  I couldn't wait to try it.  I picked up fresh Braeburn apples at the farmer's market and grabbed fresh cranberries at the grocery store.  This recipe came together pretty easily.  I did make an adjustment to the topping, I added about 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats.  I thought the texture would be a good addition, and I was correct.

Sweetie and I ate the crumble while it was still warm.  We topped it with vanilla ice cream.  It was delicious!  One of us went back for seconds, but I'll let you guess which one of us it was.  :)

Cranberry and Apple Crumble

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
(I added about 1/4 cup oatmeal to the flour mixture)
6 cups sliced peeled Braeburn apples
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, level with a knife.  Place flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter into a food processor; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.  (At this time, I added oatmeal to the flour mixture.)  

Combine apples and cranberries in a large bowl.  Combine juice, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch; pour over apple mixture.  Toss well.  Spoon apple mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with flour mixture.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.  Serve warm.

Yield - 8 servings

November 2, 2010

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake . . . hmmm!

This pound cake is delicious!  It is so smooth, moist, and chocolate-y.  I think the cake tastes better the day after it's made.  Sweetie and I ate the whole loaf!  :)  I like that it makes a loaf instead of a larger size cake.  It is very manageable for two to eat.

I've been a fan of red velvet cake for years (I grew up in the South), but the red food coloring grosses me out a bit.  Although it doesn't stop me from eating it!  I was excited to make this pound cake with a velvet texture, but no red food coloring.

I made a few adjustments to the recipe because of the high altitude.  Instead of one cup all-purpose flour, I used 3/4 cup all-purpose and 1/4 cake flour.  I also decreased the baking powder by half.  It turned out beautifully!

Chocolate Velvet Pound Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon water, at room temperature
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center.  Lightly coat the 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray, and fit it with parchment paper to extend up both long sides to the top of the pan.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium-high until light - almost white - in color, 4 to 5 minutes.  You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl, although you may need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results.  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula.

In a small bowl, stir together the water and espresso powder until smooth.  Crack the eggs into the bowl and beat to blend.  With the mixer running on medium, add the eggs to the butter mixture about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next.  About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl, then continue adding the eggs.  Scrape down the bowl again.

With a fine-mesh strainer, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the medium bowl and whisk to blend.  With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, beginning with one-third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk; repeat, then finish with the flour mixture.  Scrape down the bowl and finish blending the batter by hand, if necessary. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.  When cool, remove from the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and serve.

Storing - The cake can be made several days ahead and kept at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap.  Or double-wrap it, put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and freeze for up to 8 weeks.

Hat Tip - The Art & Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet