Lemon Ricotta Poundcake

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Hey everyone!

I finally just got a bread pan (I know, what took me so long??). I’d had this recipe for lemon ricotta poundcake laying around and had to try it. Lemon ricotta pancakes are amazing so the poundcake had to be too right??

This recipe is super simple and can be made for either 1 regular sized bread pans, or three mini ones.

Here’s what you’ll need:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more to grease the baking pan
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 to 2 lemons
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (less than 1 lemon, usually)

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next get a medium bowl, and mix together your flour, salt, and baking powder. Set that aside for now. With a mixer, cream the butter with the sugar and ricotta cheese. Mix for about 3 minutes or so. Next, beat in the three eggs one at a time.

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Once that’s mixed in well, add in your lemon zest, vanilla, and lemon juice.

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Once that’s done, slowly mix in your dry ingredients.

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Pour the batter into your bread pan(s) and bake for 50-60 minutes.

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Let it cool and enjoy!

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The Long Wait for Overnight Cinnamon Buns

Yeast. I think as a baker, there’s this unspoken rule to use it at least once. In all honesty, I hate using yeast: it’s temperamental, it’s high-maintenance and worst of all, it’s slow. If I wanted something quick and delicious, I would make something cinnamon roll pancakes (Carmen posted a recipe a couple of weeks back)… not wait hours for bread to rise. But, without using it, you lose access to all different kinds of bread. So, as this is crossing my mind, I’m trying to think of what to make. How can I ease myself into doing this? Why not do something overnight? I’ll be sleeping anyway, so why not capitalize on that time.

As a first attempt in the world of yeast breads, I made some overnight cinnamon rolls.

The recipe follows:

For 6 rolls:

Dough:

1/2 cup of warm milk (around 100ºF)

1/2 cup sugar

1 package (1 and 1/4 tsp) yeast

1/4 cup melted butter

1 egg

pinch of salt

2 cups all purpose flour

Filling:

1/2 cup of softened butter

1/4 cup of sugar

1 tbsp cinnamon

*Note: feel free to adjust the ratios for the cinnamon sugar

Steps:

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the warm milk and wait for it to become foamy (~5-10 minutes)

Add the melted butter, egg, and salt and mix until well combined

Slowly incorporate the flour and knead until the dough is smooth (either by hand or with a stand mixer)

Place the dough somewhere warm covered with a towel until the dough has doubled in size

Once doubled, knock the air out and roll into a rectangle

Spread the softened butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar (adjust for how sweet you want these to be)

Roll and then cut into 6-7 pieces

Place into a greased dish

This is what my rolls looked like:

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Let this sit in the refrigerator overnight and let it rise 1-2 hours the next morning.

Next morning:

Preheat the oven to 375ºF

After the second rise, bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown

They should look something like this:

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For a first attempt, it was alright. My housemates liked them, but I think they could definitely use a little more oomph. One key thing that I’ve learned from this is to use fresh yeast and try to maintain the temperature around 100ºF consistently during the non-overnight rises. My dough might also have been too dry, so using flour sparingly is also key. But overall, not too bad.

Good luck, and hopefully, your rolls turn out better than mine. If you have suggestions, that would also be great.

Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta

CBC’s founder Carmen recently introduced me to this awesome website: Food 52. This resulted in HOURS of time spent browsing all the delicious recipes, and one fateful evening, (with the help of my friend Wei En) I decided to make Food 52’s recipe for “Pasta Al Forno with Pumpkin and Pancetta”

The recipe was cheesy and delicious, and was essentially a very fancy version of my favorite food: Mac and Cheese.

From the delicious aroma of frying pancetta, to the fabulous cheese and cream covered pasta, to the TASTY final product, this recipe was a hit!

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I couldn’t resist making a couple of changes to the recipe, so here is food 52’s version, with my edits.

Ingredients:

  • 13-4 pound cheese pumpkin or butternut squash 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4pound pancetta, diced
  • 1pound conchiglie rigate (shells)
  • 2cups heavy cream
  • 1/4pound shredded fresh mozzarella
  • 1/2cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 1/2cup fontina, coarsely grated
  • 1/4cup crumbled gorgonzola (I substituted gorgonzola for Goat Cheese) 
  • tablespoons ricotta
  • teaspoons chopped thyme leaves (I used a tablespoon of dried thyme and a tablespoon of dried rosemary)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into 8 equal wedges and arrange on two baking sheets lined with foil. Sprinkle the wedges with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for about an hour, until the pumpkin is caramelized and tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle the pumpkin without burning yourself. (I skipped this step and used the puree that I had frozen from when I had pumpkins in the fall- [check out my process here] though I see no reason why you couldn’t used canned pumpkin as long as it was unsweetened). 
  2. In the meantime, crisp the pancetta in a medium saucepan over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels, discarding the fat. (It only took me about 6 minutes, keep an eye on the Pancetta as it is easily burned!)
  3. Turn the oven up to 500 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for exactly 5 minutes, drain and run cool water over it for about 10 seconds. Set aside in the colander.
  4. Scoop enough of the cooked pumpkin from the rind to make 2 cups. Combine this with the cream in a blender and puree just until smooth (be careful not to over blend, or you’ll whip the cream). (I mixed by hand and it worked just fine!) Scoop out some more of the pumpkin (you probably won’t need the whole thing) and chop roughly to make about a cup and a half. (I didn’t have enough pumpkin to do this step, and although the texture was a little different it turned out fine) 
  5. Combine the pumpkin and cream, puree with the cheeses, salt, thyme and pancetta in a large bowl and stir gently to combine. Add the pasta and the chopped pumpkin and fold together just until combined.(I also added salt and pepper at this point, as well as some extra seasonings: more thyme, rosemary, garlic, basil etc.)
  6. Spread the pasta evenly in a casserole or baking dish. Bake uncovered for 7 to 10 minutes, until the top is browned and the bottom layer of pasta is just tender.

Nutella Greek Yogurt Muffins

Thursday was National Nutella Day! A perfect reason for me to slather anything and everything I ate with Nutella… yum. Using greek yogurt also gave these muffins the perfect moist cakey texture. What more can you ask for in a muffin?!

Ingredients (adapted from Julia’s Album):
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup avocado oil
1 egg
1 flax egg
2/3 cup greek yogurt
Nutella
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Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 400F. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, coconut sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix together avocado oil, egg, flax egg, and greek yogurt. In another separate bowl for the topping, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter into a crumble (set this bowl aside for later).
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Then add the flour mixture to the greek yogurt mixture. Mix until just combined. (Tip: if it gets too sticky/dense, add water/milk to thin out the batter to the consistency of your liking. I added ~1/3 cup water to thin out my batter and the muffins turned out way better)
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Grab your muffin tin and use liners or lightly spray with oil. First fill the muffin cups 1/3 full with batter. Add a scoop (or more) of Nutella, and top with more batter to cover the Nutella or until the muffin cup is 3/4 full with batter. Lastly, sprinkle the muffin with brown sugar-cinnamon topping. Bake for 20 minutes in the oven, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
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These muffins were so good! I ate four within 10 minutes of these coming out of the oven. And then I froze the rest to keep myself from gorging. (These also keep well in the freezer!)

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Happy baking!
Annie

Snickerdoodle Pie

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So I’ve had a pie crust sitting in my fridge for God knows how long, so I finally decided to put it to use, with SNICKERDOODLE PIE. Yes, you read that right. A cookie pie. Thank you Pinterest for this recipe.

This recipe is nice and simple and so delicious. I happen to love anything with cinnamon in it though. Apparently so does my room mate. Hey Jess 🙂

This is definitely best slightlyyy under-baked and eaten warm. Just like a cookie!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 single unbaked pie crust
  • 1 tablespoon raw or coarse sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour

First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Roll out your pie crust in a 9 inch pie dish.

Combine the coarse sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the pie crust with 2 teaspoons of melted butter, then sprinkle a teaspoon of the cinnamon and sugar mixture over that. Set this aside for later.

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Next, you’re going to make the syrup. YUM. Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a saucepan with your brown sugar, water, corn syrup, and the other 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Bring it up to a boil, stir it to dissolve the sugar, keep it boiling for 2 minutes, then remove it from the heat and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Set this aside. (If you wait too long and a film forms on your syrup, you can just heat it a bit again and stir it.)

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Now you’re going to make your batter. In a mixing bowl, beat 1/4 cup of softened butter for about 30 seconds. Beat in your granulated sugar, powdered sugar, salt, baking powder, and cream of tartar. Once that is mixed well, beat in your egg and the 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

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Slowly mix in the milk, only beating until it is combined. Do the same for the flour.

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Pour the batter into the pie crust, and pour the syrup over the top of it. Sprinkle the rest of your cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top.

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Cover the edges of the pie crust with tin foil and bake it at 350 degrees for about 22-25 minutes.IMG_8040

Take the pie out, remove the foil, and continue to bake it for about 20 more minutes. If the center is still jiggly after that, give it a bit more time. The top of the pie should be golden and puffy. Try the toothpick test with it to make sure it’s ok.

Once it’s done, let it cool a bit (but still try to eat it warm!). This pie would be great with some vanilla ice cream on the side.

Enjoy!

How to Make Oatmeal Not Suck

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 8.52.24 PM     Ever tried a bowl of oatmeal in an attempt to have a healthy breakfast and cringe? Oatmeal benefits include but aren’t limited to: lowering cholesterol, killing the munchies (filling your tummy with fiber in less than 200 calories), and whole grain heartiness. No matter the oat – instant, Irish, or steel-cut, here are some quick tips to help you get to the kitchen in the am.

1. Salt. Salt is so important, really. Just throw a pinch in, and you’ll be able to taste a flavor from that hot cereal.

2. Sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want a source of sweetness to get you through. This can be brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, or anything else you would use, for something like tea.

3. Dairy. Feel free to add milk or yogurt to cool off the oatmeal and loosen up the thick.

4. Fruit. Another addition, especially for the sweet tooth. Fresh blueberries and bananas, or dried cranberries – whatever fruit you snack on, throw it on top of your oats and enjoy the additional flavor and texture.

5. Egg. More about a savory start to the day? Throw a soft-boiled or fried egg on with some extra salt, sriracha, or avocado.

As long as you follow the directions on the packaging, you should be good to go to adapt to your heart’s content. Don’t forget: there are no rules, and there’s always Google 😉

-Carmen

Winter Roasted Butternut Squash, Apple, Leek Soup

As the only CBC member left in Ithaca (congrats to our founder Carmen for her early graduation!), I have to tell you it is FREEZING here (actually well below….)- which means, it is the perfect time for a hearty, healthy, tasty, winter roasted soup! This soup’s recipe is vaguely flexible, feel free to add or subtract vegetables (or liquids) to taste- I always do.

p.s. this would go GREAT with David’s corn muffins from last week! 

pot of soup!

Ingredients:

3lbs of butternut squash

2 apples

3 leeks

1 head of garlic (thats right I said head)

Olive oil

Herbs/seasonings (I used rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper)

Chicken stock (about 2 cups)

White wine ( a generous splash)

Apple cider (to taste)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

Peel and cube squash and apples (squash can be bought pre-cut), and slice the leeks (only the white parts). Then, peel every clove of garlic on the head (every single one).

Take garlic cloves and the cubed vegetables/fruit and spread on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Toss vegetables lightly in olive oil and season with your herbs and salt/pepper.

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Put the vegetables in the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes (or until the squash can be easily pierced by a fork).

About 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, combine liquids (stock, wine, and apple cider), and bring to a boil. (In total there should be about 2 1/2 cups of liquids in the pot- so whatever proportion of liquids you want to do- go nuts!)

Take the vegetables out of the oven and put them in the pot with the liquids. Let the vegetables and broth simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

Finally, take your immersion blender (or pour your pot of soup into a conventional blender), and puree away!

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Enjoy your soup with parsley or chives, and goat cheese for garnish!

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