Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake-Cookies

I probably should have started with a raison d'etre for this blog as my inaugural post. Instead I just jumped right into the swing of things with a recipe for one of the best quick breads, ever (according to Chris.)

But, just to satisfy protocol, the reason for this blog is, simply, to share and to archive my recipes. I bake and cook all the time, and I source my recipes from many places, and make many adjustments, and it's just plain hard to keep track of it all! With this blog I hope to keep up to date with my favorite creations of the week so that I (and my readers - do you exist yet?) can have easy access to the best recipes. That would have been a great blog title. Best recipes. Generic. Easy to understand. Bah. I've always had a fondness for the esoteric. And chocolate.

Without further ado, here is a great fall recipe. I baked these to bring to a friend's house for brunch on Sunday and they were a universal hit, babies included! I brought most of them to hers, and the few I left for Chris and me to share were all consumed by the end of the day. When I was pregnant I made a batch of these and ate the entire batch myself. (And some wonder how I could have possibly gained 50 lbs?)

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake-Cookies

adapted from Joy The Baker

The original recipe calls for you to line your cookie trays with parchment paper, and butter the paper. I used a slightly greasy jelly roll pan with no paper and had no issues. You can also use an electric mixer (hand-held or standing) instead of whisking. I prefer not to break out the electrical appliances unless they make my life easier. Here, they don't.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. 

In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color. Add the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla and whisk until thoroughly blended. Switch to a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and gently fold in the flour mixture. Finally, gently stir in the chips.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, or an ice cream scoop, plop 1/4 cup sized blobs onto the cookie tray. Make sure you leave plenty of space between them (about 2 inches), and depending on how thick your batter is you might want to flatten them just a smidge. Experiment with your batches to see how you like it best.

Bake for about 12 minutes, or until they are golden brown. (Like always, baking times will depend on how big your cookies are, how hot your oven actually is, and what baking sheet you used, so always check a few minutes before. These do not taste good over-baked!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cranberry Orange Bread

We had plans for our ex-pat Thanksgiving this past week. We were going to go to the only decent Mexican place in London for tacos on Thursday. (Nothing more American than good Mexican food.) And then on Saturday we were going to a friend's 25-person pot-luck turkey fete.

Neither happened. Disastrous colds happened, and little guy (and his mommy) were in no state to see or be seen.

Only one thing remotely Thanksgiving-ish happened in our house last week. And that was the baking of my mom's cranberry-orange bread. It's been breakfast the morning of Turkey Day for as long as I can remember. It's delicious with coffee, and it's the perfect way to start a day of over-indulgence. Because how can something stuffed with the antioxidant-queen cranberry be anything but healthy?

Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Orange Bread

The original recipe called for the butter to be cut into the flour mixture with knives, like for pie crust. I find the food processor much handier, because it also saves you from hand-chopping many small globe-shaped stain-makers. I also used one large loaf pan and one miniature one, so I am not 100% sure of the baking time for one large loaf. Baking times also will depend on the accuracy of your oven, and whether you use metal or glass pans. (Glass will take longer.)

This is an odd quick-bread recipe. It's almost like someone accidentally dumped their morning OJ into a batch of scones and this was the end result. Happy accident, that. However weird the recipe, this is a loaf worth making. My husband says it's his favorite. (When you're married to a baker this is not something you say lightly!)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup (113 grams) butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tbsp grated orange rind
  • 11 oz (300 grams) cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large loaf pan.

Put flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a food processor and process until thoroughly combined. Cut butter into a few pieces and add to bowl. Process in several pulses until mixture resembles corn meal. Transfer flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Process cranberries until no whole berries remain. (No need to rinse out the food processor from previous step.) Set aside.

Beat egg with a whisk or an egg beater in a small bowl until light and frothy. Add orange juice and rind and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture over the flour mixture and gently stir until just combined. Don't worry, the batter is supposed to be thick. (Stop stirring when you can just see a few streaks of the flour mixture.) Gently stir in the cranberries and nuts (if using).

Scoop the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no battery bits.