Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Crispy Oatmeal Raisin

I know I posted a lacey version of the Oatmeal Raisin a while back. When I made Nigella Lawson's Oatmeal M&M recipe (which is the perfect balance of oatmeal and chocolate and kids love the color), I realized this was the perfect oatmeal consistency I crave. If you want a super crisp and crunchy version with just enough oats, try this recipe. You can substitute raisins for dried currants, cranberries, blueberries, etc.  I've been making this recipe every week for the past 3 weeks. Thats how much I love it.
Makes about 18 cookies
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashion oats
9 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 c. raisins (or currants, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, etc)

Preheat 350 degrees.  
Mix dry ingredients
Cream Butter and sugars
Add egg to creamed butter/sugar mixture, then vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Add raisins.
Spoon batter with ice cream scoop. 
Flatten to 1/2 in thick disks. 
Bake 15-20 min.

Polenta Pound Cake

After having the most perfect dessert at this great little Italian restaurant called Union in Evanston, I thought I'd try and recreate it. It was a toasted slice of Polenta Pound Cake served with roasted peaches and whipped cream. So I found this recipe and it was a hit for brunch last weekend with my whole family.

Makes 1 loaf cake, serving 8-10
1/2 lb unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
3 eggs, at room temp.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pine nuts (optional)
* I omitted optional ingredients

Preheat  to 350 degrees. 
Brush loaf pan with butter and dust with flour or just line with parchment (which is what I do).
Cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy for 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time. Then add extracts and sour cream. Stir in cornmeal followed by flour, baking powder and salt.
Spoon batter into pan. Scatter pine nuts on top (if using pine nuts). Bake about an hour or until the top is firm to the touch. cook completely. Cut 3/4 to 1 in. slices. Toast in your toaster oven until brown at edges. Dust with powdered sugar (optional). I just served it plain. So good!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I love eating madeleines, but have never made them. Hope they aren't too difficult, as they will be nice little treats to bag up for friends on Valentine's Day.

1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbs) butter, melted and cooled, plus additional for brushing molds
1 1/4 cups sifted flour (sift before measuring)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Optional: Confectioner's sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Brush molds with melted butter.

Sift together flower, baking powder, and salt into a bowl.

Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high until light and foamy, about 30 seconds with a stand mixer. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating at high speed, then continue to beat until mixture is tripled in volume, about 3 minutes with stand mixer.

Sift flour mixture over eggs in 3-5 batches, folding in each batch until just combined. Fold in zest and remaining 12 Tbs melted butter.

Spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into each mold, filling it about 2/3 full. Bake (with 2 pans), switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden around edges and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 10-12 minutes total.

Invert madeleines onto a rack and dust scalloped sides with confectioner's sugar.

Note: Batter is best baked as soon as it is made, but if you don't have multiple pans, you can bake in batches.