Monday, December 28, 2009

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies and Apologies

For those of you who occasionally glance at my blog, I apologize for my apparent lack of commitment to posting. But, in my defense, I've been busy graduating from college. As 2010 begins I promise to try to post at least once a week and hopefully I can stick with this. So as for a recipe I have an interesting twist on a recipe I think is best done by Nestle Tollhouse - Chocolate Chip Cookies...made with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter.
I have to admit, these cookies were pretty darn good and I was amazed that I couldn't taste the olive oil. The cookies were best fresh out of the oven or dipped in milk the next day. I'm sitting in the Portland Airport right now and I have to say, I'd really like one of these fresh out of the oven.

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Crepes of Wrath

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 or 2 tablespoons of milk
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Combine sugars, vanilla, and olive oil. Stir in the eggs one a time. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, then add in a tablespoon of milk to make the dough a bit firmer, maybe another tablespoon if you need it/if you feel the dough is too sticky/dry.

3. Roll the dough into balls with your hands and place on a greased and/or lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden and set. Mine took about 10 minutes. These get overdone quickly, so take them out a bit early if you’re unsure. Allow to cool for a bit on the baking sheet, then move to another surface to finish cooling.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Buttermilk Icing

This is perhaps the most delicious cake I've ever made and I don't even really like pumpkin all that much. I encourage you to make it. The best thing about this cake is that it keeps really well - like for days and days. I made this cake on Tuesday night and it was just perfect for Thanksgiving and lasted (barely) until Monday when it was still awesome and moist.

When I went to make this cake I discovered, much to my dismay, that my buttermilk had gone bad. This was really quite irritating because I'd bought it on Sunday and the expiration date was the 25th of November, also known as tomorrow. I was very annoyed. Looking back on it though I think if it hadn't had the orange fuzzy dots in it (gross) I probably would have thrown out perfectly good buttermilk - because it is supposed to be very chunky. My advice: give it a good shake to distribute everything and try to ignore the sound it makes as it splats into the measuring cup.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Buttermilk Icing
Adopted from Gourmet (via Epicurious)

For cake
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Mine was a heaping teaspoon...I love cinnamon)
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (a 15-ounce can is more than enough; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

For icing
(I think you could probably get away with making half of this recipe - I had a ton of extra)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

Make cake:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter pan* generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar with a fork in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time and stir to incorporate after each egg. Add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.

Make icing:
While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioners sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly. (I actually didn't drizzle until the next day, I heated up the cake a bit and drizzled and it was just fine - it wasn't a hard icing but it was still delicious.)

*The original recipe is made in a bundt pan but I don't have one (and Brad so kindly talked me out of buying a $12 pan I clearly don't need) so I used a springform pan and it worked great. I think these would also make excellent muffins.