buttermuffins_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

The other morning I felt like having tea and jam for breakfast, but of course I couldn’t have just that because I am an Adult and I have to set an Example. So I made muffins to give me something to put the jam on. These are good, basic muffins with lots of nooks and crannies – a great way to showcase any kind of nice jam.

Butter Muffins, Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 t. baking powder
  • Streusel, option (recipe under Basics page above)

Preheat the oven to 400 and combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

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Then add the dry ingredients, all at once.

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Stir briskly five-six times. It’s okay to have a few streaks of flour and some lumps, those will all take care of themselves.

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Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full, dividing the batter evenly.

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Put a little sprinkle of streusel on top if you like. (I make large batches and keep it on hand in the freezer.)

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Slide them into the oven and bake about 15 minutes.

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They will rise up and look quite fetching.

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They look even better with a lash of butter.

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Serve these warm. They are best eaten the same day but if you have some leftover wrap them in plastic wrap and warm them in the microwave for a few seconds when you want them.

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Two years ago: Yogurt Flatbread
One year ago: Spoonbread

arepa12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be working in some south-of-the-border recipes as we head toward Cinco de Mayo. Today I’m bringing you arepas. Now they might be street food in your neck of the woods, but should you not be that lucky the good news is – it’s easy to make your own.

You do need the special masa, pre-cooked cornmeal, which you can order online. Note: This is not to be confused with masa harina. It’s often called masarepa or just look for the bag marked P.A.N.

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I found it at my local Latino grocery, where the shopkeeper said most people prefer the Venezulean variety as opposed to the Colombian one. It comes in white cornmeal, yellow cornmeal and a sweetened variety. I’m using the plain white cornmeal.

You can cook these as patties, then split them for filling – or you can cook them filled with just about anything – cheese, refried beans, chopped veggies or meat. As you knead it the dough takes on a super-fun resilient texture that feels great when you work with it. These remind me very much of the fried cornmeal mush my grandma used to make, just in a different form. They’re gluten-free, easy, quick and delicious – and they’d make a terrific vegetarian entree.

Arepas, Makes about eight 3″ filled patties

  • 2 c. precooked cornmeal
  • 2 T. softened butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2-1/2 c. warm water
  • 1-1/2 c. filling ingredients (shredded cheese, refried beans, etc.)

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Combine the cornmeal and salt in a bowl. Swirl the warm water in with your fingertips. As the dough starts to come together knead in the butter. Continue kneading for two minutes until you have a soft, bouncy dough.

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Assemble your filling ingredients. I’m using leftover fajita chicken, chopped fine, and cheese.

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Pat a round of dough out into a circle and add a dab of filling.

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Top it with another circle and pinch around the edges to seal.

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When you have all your patties formed, heat 2 T. of olive oil in a heavy skillet. (You also grill these.)

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Cook for about four-five minutes, until nicely browned. Then turn and do the other side.

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Serve these hot with salsa or another spicy sauce of your choice.

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Two years ago: Fresh Ginger Carrot Muffins
One year ago: Chicken Kiev with Farro Pilaf

by Heather Harris Brady

My camera’s on the fritz so I’m doing a how-to today instead of a recipe. Spring just feels like a time for parties to me, maybe because it’s my own birthday season! Here is a recap of a girl’s birthday party I threw for my daughter and her fashion-loving friends. Everyone came in through our streamer doorway, which was also the start of a red carpet. The dress cupcakes, above, were the star of the show. Here’s a look at the table:

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Each plate had a super-cute handbag that I made out of chocolate-graham crackers and white modeling chocolate (or you can use white fondant).

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These go together in minutes. I rolled out the handles and clasps, then put them between two crackers a bit of chocolate ganache to hold them together. I rolled the fondant out and cut two ribbons for each bag, and added the stitching with a rolling marker from my sewing box.

For the dress cupcakes I used black dress hangar picks that I cannot find now online. I’ll keep looking and when I find some I’ll post a link here. However, you could make them on a cricut too. I baked a regular batch of cupcakes and the same number of mini-cupcakes. I turned one mini upside-down on top of each regular cupcake, then frosted them. Once the crumb-coat of frosting was on I added the ruffles with a decorating tip. Lastly, I modeled the dress tops out of fondant, stuck them to the hangars and inserted one in each cupcake.

I bought window cupcake boxes and made labels for them that said “Sofia’s Sweet Boutique”. I cut scrapbook paper to add curtains to the windows of the boxes. Then each girl decorated her dress with confectioner’s pearls and silver dragees and put them in the boxes as their take-home gift.

I had the cupcakes all lined up so everyone could see them when they arrived:

Once people saw them, though, it was hard to keep them from asking to start decorating right away but we wanted to save it for the grande finale!


Two years ago: New Potatoes with Roasted Garlic & Thyme
One year ago: Gluten Free Brownies

 

manicotti7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris-Brady

There were quite a few new baking likes this morning so I hope that you are all having a lovely time baking your way into spring! I apologize for the single post this week, I’ve got some lingering cold that I’m trying to fight off. Speaking of cold, if it’s still chilly where you are this manicotti is a great way to warm up. You can make the sauce while you’re at work, assemble it and have a nice pan of fresh manicotti for dinner – or, just substitute two jars of your favorite marinara for the sauce.

Baked Manicotti & World’s Easiest Marinara, Makes one 13 x 9 pan (about 10 servings)

Marinara

  • Two large cans (28 oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
  • 5 T. butter
  • 1/2 onion, peeled but still intact

Manicotti

  • One package manicotti shells
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan
  • 3/4 c. ricotta or other soft fresh cheese
  • One egg
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 8 oz. mozzarella

Combine all the marinara ingredients in a slow cooker. Turn it on low, cover it and come back six hours later.

Cook the shells according to package directions. While the shells are cooking make the filling.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add the turkey. Cook it thoroughly. Add the garlic during the last minute.

Combine it in a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients except the mozzarella. Stir well.

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Preheat the oven to 375. Drain the shells and set up your assembly area. Discard the onion from the marinara sauce and spoon enough sauce into your pan to cover the bottom.

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Stuff the shells with the turkey filling. I had a little extra filling left so I put it on top.

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Cover the shells with the rest of the sauce.

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Slide the pan into the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Put the mozzarella on top for the last few minutes.

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Serve hot with a fresh salad. Refrigerate any leftovers. This keeps well and I think it’s actually better the second day.

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Two years ago: Chorizo Burgers
One year ago: Dulce de leche Ice Cream Sundae

crescentrolls19_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I’m posting these rolls now because they are a lovely thing to add to your Easter menu. Light yet oh-so-buttery these crescent rolls are basically what you get if you are not patient enough to chill the dough for croissants! I’m using Julia Child’s croissant dough recipe. You can make these tiny and cute by cutting smaller triangles. Start these about four hours before you want to serve them.

Crescent Rolls, Makes about six large or one dozen small rolls

One packet quick-rise dry-active yeast
3 T. warm water
1 t. sugar
1-3/4 c. flour
2 t. sugar
1½ t. salt
½ c. milk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) tasteless oil (I used generic vegetable oil)
1 stick chilled, unsalted butter

2 T. flour
1 egg, for egg wash

Combine the yeast, sugar and flour in a heavy-duty mixing bowl fitted with the dough hook.

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Put it on stir and drizzle in the water. Then add the milk.

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You can add a little more water if there is still dry flour in the bowl. Beat on medium for about eight minutes, as if you were making brioche dough.

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Set the dough aside to raise until doubled in bulk. Combine the butter (cut in tablespoons) with the 2 T. flour and beat until light and fluffy, about four minutes. It should be about the same consistency as the dough.

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Spoon it onto waxed paper and put it into an oval about 3 x 4″. Chill it while the dough is rising.

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Turn the dough out on a floured board. Gently roll it out.

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Put the butter in the center.

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Fold the sides over.

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Roll it out and then refold it as if you were folding a letter for an envelope.

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Repeat three times. (You can chill it in between if you have time.)

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Finally fold it so the sides meet in the middle. Then fold the bottom over the top. (Again, you can chill it here if you have time.)

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Roll the dough out and cut it into triangles.

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Stretch them out a bit. Starting with the wide side, roll them up. You can tuck a bit dough in the middle first if you want them nice and puffy in the center.

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Let them rise until at least doubled, more if you have time.

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Preheat the oven to 375. Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the rolls.

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Bake about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.

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Serve them warm. These are best the day they’re made.


Two years ago: Lemon Curd
One year ago: Easter Macarons

bananacake12_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This is a quick snack cake I threw together while I was making dinner to use up some odd items I had laying around. It goes together in minutes and you can have warm cake for dessert! Since this recipe is meant to use up leftovers I’m giving you some potential substitutions below.

Butter Pecan Banana Cake, Makes on 8″ square cake

  • 5 T. softened butter
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas (or 1 c. pumpkin/sweet potato)
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1-3/4 c. flour
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (or yogurt/sour cream)

Topping:

  • 1 c. shelled raw pecans
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 3 T. heavy cream
  • 1 t. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease a 8″ square cake pan. Cream the butter and sugar together, then cream in the eggs, bananas and vanilla.

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Beat in the flour, buttermilk, and baking powder.

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You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Spread it in the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the center springs back lightly at the touch.

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While the cake is baking make the topping.

Combine the butter and nuts in a saucepan over medium heat.

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Saute for about five minutes, until the nuts and butter are starting to brown. Then add the sugar.

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Cook until the brown sugar starts to smell like caramel, about five minutes. Keep stirring! Then add the cream all at once.

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Cook for another two minutes and take it off the heat. Stir in the vanilla and let it cool. It will start to thicken up.

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Spread the topping over the warm cake.

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Sprinkle with some coarse salt if you like. Serve warm.

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Cover lightly with plastic and store any leftovers at room temperature.


Two years ago: Pavlovas
One year ago: Charred Asparagus

lemoncookies7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Although most of our snow is melted spring is taking its own sweet time getting here. I thought I’d encourage it along with these bright cookies from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. They are the soft cakey old-fashioned kind. I added an easy lemon glaze to pump up the lemon flavor. These would make pretty Easter cookies if you coaxed them into an egg shape.

Soft Lemon Cookies, Makes about 36 3″ cookies.

  • One stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. almond extract
  • One whole egg
  • Two egg yolks
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder

Lemon glaze:

  • 1 T. softened butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3-4 T. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together well. Then beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

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Add the rest of the ingredients and cream well for two minutes.

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Drop by tablespoons onto a well-greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for about 12 minutes, until there is a pale golden edge around the bottom.

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Cool on the pan for a minute, then transfer the cookies to racks to cool completely. They will be barely crispy on the outside and cakey on the inside.

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Stir the butter, sugar and 2 T. of lemon juice together for the glaze. Add more lemon juice to thin it if need be. Top each cooled cookie with a bit of glaze.

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Store covered at room temperature between layers of waxed paper.

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Two years ago: Low Fat Chocolate Chip Cookies
One year ago: Oatcakes (Oatmeal Crackers)

mixedberrypie7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Since Saturday was PI day (3.14.15) and I live in a house with a bunch of math geeks/pie lovers pie there was no choice, pie had to manifest. The fresh fruit this time of year is somewhat expensive and questionable, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about the tricks of making pie with frozen fruit. Quick pie. Pie when you do not have the time to defrost because dinner is imminent. Pie when you want to clean out the freezer to get ready for spring.

Here I used a cup of small wild blueberries, about three cups of Montmorency cherries and one cup of raspberries – all individually quick-frozen last summer. Because you can’t tell with frozen fruit how much juice the berries will give off, things get tricky. So you guess at the start and then cheat if you have to later on.

I started this pie off in the oven without its topping. About halfway through the baking I checked to see if my initial guess was correct. Here I could have added in some cornstarch or tapioca flour, but I didn’t need to as you will see.

Mixed Berry Pie (with frozen berries), Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 5 c. mixed berries of your choice, all individually quick-frozen
  • One unbaked deep dish pie shell (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 2 c. streusel (my recipe is above under Basics)
  • 1-1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. small tapioca
  • 1 t. cinnamon

Mix the sugar, tapioca and berries together in a bowl. Let stand for about 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375.

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Fill the pie shell with the berries evenly.

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After 25-30 minutes, take the pie out of the oven. The berries should be giving off their juices and while it should be a bit watery (because the tapioca is starting to do its job) the berries should not be completely submerged.

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If you have too much juice at this point you can gently stir in some more cornstarch or tapioca flour mixed with cold water. Then proceed to cover the pie with the streusel.

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Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes, until the streusel is nicely brown.

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The pie will thicken as it cools. I left it to cool at room temperature. Here it is six hours later.

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Serve slightly warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Two years ago: Cream Scones
One year ago: Key Lime Pie

irishapplecobbler1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This is a quick, easy and different dessert for the upcoming holiday. I’ve replaced the usual soft biscuit topping with a thinnish layer of Irish soda bread. If you have buttermilk and apples you can start this after work and have a warm dessert for dinner. I’ve skipped some of the sauteed apple steps, since I’ve posted them before.

Irish Apple Cobbler, Makes one 9″ pan (about 8-10 generous servings)

For the apples:

  • 5-6 well-flavored baking apples, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • 2 t. cinnamon

For the cobbler topping:

  • 4 T. cool butter
  • 3 T. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. buttermilk

First do the apples: Put the butter in a skillet over medium. When it’s melted, add the apples and stir them around for a minute or two. Then add the brown sugar and simmer for about five minutes. Stir in the cinnamon. Then turn the hot apples out into a lightly greased 9″ deep dish pie pan. Set them aside.

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Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the flour, sugar and baking soda in a bowl.

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Cut in the butter, then quickly stir in the buttermilk. You should have a shaggy batter.

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Spoon it over the apples.

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Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch.

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To serve turn large spoonfuls of the cobbler upside down in a bowl.

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Serve warm with heavy cream or vanilla ice cream (and/or a good drizzle of Bailey’s).

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Store leftovers covered at room temperature.


Two years ago: Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
One year ago: Cheddar Ale Sauce

chocolateoatmealcookies1_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

These cookies look pretty homey but fresh out of the  oven they are freakin’ (that’s right, I said freakin’) amazing. They are thick, soft on the inside and crackly on the outside plus they’re super chocolately. I’ve posted my own recipe for this type of cookie before, but when I saw this recipe in Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies I had to try it because it included hot coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but if coffee and chocolate are together in the right amounts magic happens. Like here.

Chocolate Chip-Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, Makes about 50

1 c. (8 oz.) butter, room temperature
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. dark cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1-1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
2 t. instant coffee
1/4 c. hot water
1-1/4 c. flour
1 c. mini chocolate chips
3 c. quick-cooking oatmeal

Heat the oven to 350. Cream the butter with the sugar for two minutes.

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Add the egg and vanilla, beat another minute. Dissolve the coffee in the water and stir in the cocoa powder.

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Beat that into the butter along with the salt and baking soda.

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Add the flour, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and oatmeal.

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Drop spoons of dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets.

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Bake 14-16 minutes.

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Let them stand a minute or two to cool slightly before transferring to racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

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Two years ago: Irish Hostess Cupcakes
One year ago: Dulce de Leche Banana Cake

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