Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Simply Beautiful White Kitchens

I haven't posted any inspiration pictures of white kitchens in awhile now. Thought I would share a few that I found at House Beautiful.

When can I move in? This kitchen has a lot of space, it would be fun to bake in here. Some of the things I love... the floor, subway tile, and the stainless steel hood.

Love this black mirror, a little unexpected...what a great idea. That island is fabulous, simple but functional.

A little on the smaller side, but it's so open, and has all the elements that I love.

Love the windows, cabinetry, and the sink. I would probably have to replace the crab picture with something else...

Very elegant.

What's not to love about this kitchen? And I immediately noticed the Arte Italica coffee canister, and the Le Creuset tea kettle. It's funny ever since I started working at the kitchen store I always notice (in pictures and in movies etc...) what accessories are in the kitchen. One of the other girls that I work with said she does the same thing ha ha!

Love the black and white.

Love just about everything in this kitchen. The island with the towel bar, pot racks, subway tile...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Banana Cream Pie

I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned here before that I am pie dough challenged. I have been told that it takes a lot of practice. I remember watching my Mom make pie dough when I was a kid. Her's were always wonderful, and perfect... she must have had a lot of practice :)
I have tried many recipes, even my Mom's, to no avail. In the past I have "cheated" and used the pre-made crust that you get in the refrigerator section at the grocery store. Even my Mom has been using the "cheating" crust for years now. She decided that it is just as good as her's, so why go to the extra work? But I am determined to make a tender, flaky crust from scratch. I will master this... if it's the last thing I do ;)
I have tried Barefoot Contessa's pie crust recipe before, but for some reason... this time it worked! Maybe it was practice. I should have known that I could count on Ina.
This Banana Cream Pie is from Paula Deen's cookbook, The Lady & Son's Savannah Country Cookbook. It's actually the first Paula Deen recipe that I have tried, and let's just say I could have eaten the whole thing...but I didn't. It is a little lighter in texture than the Banana Cream Pies that I have tried in the past, although I'm sure not lighter in calories.

Ina's Perfect Pie Crust
This recipe makes 2 crusts, you can freeze and save the other for another time, or even better, make two pies!

12 Tbs. very cold unsalted butter
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening
6 to 8 Tablespoons ice water

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn't stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan and unfold to fit the pan. Prick bottom and side thoroughly with fork. Wrap remaining dough tightly and freeze for another use. Bake in a 475 degree preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

Banana Cream Pie

1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 egg whites
2 bananas, sliced

one 9-inch prebaked pie shell

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/3 cup sugar with the corn starch and salt. Blend in milk, then egg yolks. Cook and stir until mixture thickens. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form; gradually add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture. In pie shell, alternate layers of banana slices and cream filling. Cover and chill. Top with whipped cream and additional sliced bananas, if desired.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Snickerdoodle Cookies

I don't normally bake with margarine or shortening... but since I now have both on hand from the last few recipes, I may as well use it.
Snickerdoodle cookies are the first thing I remember baking as a kid. ( did you know that Mom?)
Most of the cookies I bake, I bake just until they are set. These are no exception. If the edges have turned the slightest golden they are too done for my family. Heck, I don't know why I even bother baking them, they would be happy just eating the dough ;) They definitely prefer their cookies chewy and doughy in the center. If you like your cookie a little more crispy/ crunchy, you might want to bake yours until a little more golden.

Snickerdoodle Cookies
1/2 cup margarine, room temp.
1/2 cup shortening, room temp.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Cream margarine, shortening and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each one thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add in two additions to the margarine mixture. Do not over mix. Form dough into round walnut sized balls and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place on cookie sheet, do not flatten. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baking with Betty

So I'm not letting the unusually warm/hot weather stop me from turning on the oven. Today I made two of my favorite recipes. Sugar cookies, and chocolate cream puffs. Both of them come from my very loved and worn Betty Crocker Cookbook. I know I have posted the sugar cookie recipe here several times, but it really is my favorite.
Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Mix powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract and egg. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough into halves. Roll each half 3/16 inch thick on lightly floured cloth covered board. Cut into desired shapes with 2-to 2 1/2 inch cookie cutters. Place on silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 7 to 8 minutes. I bake just until set.

Buttercream Frosting

16 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together, may need to add more milk or powdered sugar to obtain desired frosting consistency.

Cream Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat water and margarine to rolling boil in 2 1/2 quart sausepan. Stir in flour. Stir vigorously over low heat until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute; remove from heat. Beat in eggs, all at once; continue beating until smooth. Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupfuls about 3 inches apart ( I used a pastry bag and made much smaller, and baked for approx. 20 minutes) onto ungreased cookie sheet. ( I lined my cookie sheet with a silpat).
Bake until puffed and golden, 35 to 40 minutes. cool away from draft. Cut off tops; Pull out any filaments of soft dough. Fill puffs with chocolate pudding and whipped cream. Replace tops; sprinkle with powdered sugar. Refrigerate until serving time. Serves 12. I got 19 with the smaller portion.

Chocolate Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk
5 ounces semi sweet chocolate, chopped into slivers
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, warm the milk and chocolate whisking until chocolate is melted.
In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes pale yellow. Add cornstarch, salt, and then the vanilla. Whisk until well blended. Slowly pour some of the warm chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until well blended to temper the eggs. Return mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens and begins to bubble slowly, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface, refrigerate about 2-3 hours.

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat all ingredients until stiff peaks form.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Banana Nut Bread

We finally had an over abundance of ripe bananas, they don't usually last that long in my house. I've been wanting to make banana nut bread for some time...but it seems like no matter how many bananas I bought they disappeared before they became ripe enough. Oh well, guess you can't complain about that. So finally I ended up with ripe bananas, and even though it feels like it's 90 degrees outside (not complaining) I turned on the oven and made two loaves. Most of the recipes I found called for buttermilk, and since I didn't have buttermilk, and didn't want to run to the store I found this recipe on It got really high reviews, and even though it calls for shortening, it also also calls for oatmeal, which has to cancel out the shortening...right? ;)Anyway, my family loved it, and if you find yourself with over-ripe bananas you can find the recipe here.