Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Maple Snickerdoodles via Closet Cooking

These little things are so delicious they caused Grant to say something I never thought I'd hear someone say. He said, "You are a good baker..." He normally says things are great, whether he means it or not, but I could tell he really meant it this time. I'm way too new to this to get that kind of recognition.

Anyway, these cookies are delicious with milk, and I could only imagine how great they'd be with coffee... if only I drank coffee. They are relatively easy to make, it's just the rolling them into the tiny little balls that is pretty time consuming. I'm just used to drop cookies. So, I made something new AND I was turned on to a new blog today, Closet Cooking. So be expecting lots of new recipes from this creative guy as well.

To start off, preheat your oven to 350. Then get most of your dry ingredients prepared in a large bowl, this list includes: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the cinnamon. I added about 1/4 of a teaspoon more cinnamon than recommended. Once I had all of the dough mixed, it didn't look cinnamon-y enough, and when I think of snickerdoodles I think cinnamon so I added more :)

Your next step is to cream your butter and sugar together.

Once at the right consistency, add in the egg and maple syrup. Now that I've eaten the cookies, I would have added maybe a tablespoon or two more of maple syrup. The cookies aren't all the maple-y, but I guess it's up to you!

Now, mix your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients gradually (I mixed it all in in about 4 intervals).

When your dough is completely mixed together you can start rolling the cookie dough into 1 inch balls.

Then, dip your cookie balls into a mixture of the sugar and maple sugar. I do not own maple sugar and didn't feel like leaving to go buy some SO I used brown sugar instead. That's probably the reason why my cookies lacked that true maple flavor though.

Now, place the balls on your cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cracked on the top.

Enjoy these with a nice class of milk or hot coffee, mm mm good :)

Nutritionally speaking, there are 202 calories in two cookies, with 6 grams of fat and lots of sugar. So, eat moderately!

Visit Closet Cooking for his Maple Snickerdoodle Recipe

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I had to make an emphasis on scones because... well, no one has ever made me scones. I was kind of baffled at the idea of making them at home.The best scones I have ever had are at Mill Mountain Coffee in Blacksburg. Oh my gosh are they delicious. I was hoping these would compare and I do believe they come close.

Not only are these very easy to make but it's also really fun to try something new now and again!

And yes, this is from PW's cookbook as well... I'm so obsessed.

Before I start, you must remember how new I am at this so I am missing lots of pictures (I get way too excited to take a break!) Plus, my camera sucks (hint, hint mom.)

Now, to start making these delicious treats combine your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
FYI: I halved this recipe---8 scones is way too many for people who are about to go to Miami and need to look good in bathing suites.

When you've whisked all of that together cut in the butter with a pastry blender---I recommend NOT buying a cheap pastry cutter. Mine really, REALLY sucks.

You should cut the butter into the dry mix until the entire mixture is crumbly and the butter is about pea sized.

After this, chop up your pecans if they aren't chopped already, they should be chopped pretty fine. Then add them to the mixture.

Next, mix together your egg and heavy cream in a separate bowl then add it to the dry/buttery mix. Make sure not to stir this very much, you really want to just combine the ingredients, kind of like muffins if you've ever made those before.

When the ingredients are all together, and yes, the mix should still be pretty crumbly, dump it onto a cutting board. Then, push your dough into a slight ball but make sure not to knead or handle it too much. If you do, gluten will develop and your scones will not be light and fluffy.

PW used a rolling pin to flatten her dough into a 3/4 inch thick circle. I found that way too difficult with the dough being so crumbly so I just used my hands. Plus, like I said, I halved the recipe so that made it a little harder as well I believe.

Once you've made your circle cut it into a pie (8 slices if you make the full recipe; 4 slices if you half it) then move to a cooking sheet that has been sprayed with Pam or some sort of nonstick stuff.

Bake for about 22 minutes. You want the scones to be just barely golden brown.

Barely golden brown like this!

Once your scones have cooled you can whip up your icing.

This is so easy! Just mix all of the icing ingredients together (listed below) and then just pour them over the scones. Add some pecans to the top for eye-appeal and let cool some more.

Once the icing has set, simply just serve! Hope you enjoy!!

The maple-y, coffee-y flavor of this icing really makes these scones what they are! So scrumptious!

PW's Maple Pecan Scones
Serves 8

3 c all-purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
5 tsp baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 c pecans, chopped
1 large egg
3/4 c heavy cream

Maple Icing---so delicious:
1 lb powdered-sugar
1/4 c whole milk
4 tbsp butter, melted
Splash of strong coffee
Dash of salt
2 tsp maple flavoring (I used maple syrup)

Starting with the scones, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
Then, cut in the cold butter using your pastry cutter until the butter is in fine, pea-sized pieces. The mixture should be crumbly.
Next, finely chop the pecans and add them to the mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg and heavy cream, then add to the dry mixture. Stir these together just barely combining.
Then, turn onto a cutting board and form a large ball using your hands. Do not need or press. Once this is done, use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a 10 inch round, 3/4 inch thick circle. Now, you can cut 8 pie slices in the dough.
Place the slices on a greased cooking sheet and bake for 22-26 minutes on 350.
The scones will be done with they are just barely golden brown on the edges.
Allow the scones to completely cool while you prepare the icing.
For the icing, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Then, once the scones are cool, pour the icing over the scones. Let the icing set on the scones and serve.

PW's Perfect Pot Roast

Alright guys, here's your first look into my life in the kitchen! I wanted to get some use out of my new tools so I began by testing out the dutch oven (thanks mom!!!) What better to cook in a dutch oven then a hearty pot roast?

This recipe is ridiculously easy and tasty but does take quite a bit of time so make sure you allow about 30 minutes for prep time and 3-5 hours for cooking time. Of course, you could always use a crock pot and slow cook your roast as well.

I began by warming up 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven. While waiting for my oil to get hot I cut up two onions, cut them in half (also chopping off the root and stem). Once my oil was super hot, I added the onions and let them brown for about one minute on each side.

Scoop out your onions and set them aside.

Then, slice about 5 to 6 carrots, do not peel them, in about 2 inch pieces. After your carrots are cut, place them in the hot oil to brown. This only takes a couple minutes, you definitely don't want to cook your carrots.

Once your carrots are in perfect shape, place them on a separate plate as well.

Now, PW didn't call for potatoes in her recipe but Grant made the suggestion of putting them in. I also love potatoes with pot roast so adding them to the dutch oven is more simple than mashing potatoes. My next step in this recipe was to rinse some yellow potatoes, I chose to use about 4 of the smaller ones. I didn't cut them up for anything, just simply stuck them in.

The next few steps are the most crucial for a delicious pot roast!

Add another tablespoon of olive oil into the dutch oven and let it heat up. While waiting for it get super hot, generously salt both sides of your pot roast. I also generously peppered because we like that type of flavor around here!

Once your roast is seasoned to perfection, place it in the hot oil and sear each side for about a minute. When each side is seared, place the roast on a plate as well.

Now, you'll notice that thanks to all of that browning of your meat and vegetables, your pan probably has lots of remnants on the bottom. You want the flavor of all those particles so slowly add about 1 cup of beef broth while whisking simultaneously. The point of this is to get all the browning off the bottom of the dutch oven and incorporate it in the flavor of your dish.

When there is nothing stuck on the bottom of you pan anymore, add the roast and vegetables back into the pot. Also, add the rest of your broth, I only used 1 can of Swanson's Beef Broth. The recipe suggests to add enough broth to cover half of the roast and the one can seemed to do it for me!

Now, add some rosemary and thyme to the dish, cover, and cook!

Since I had about a 3lb roast, I cooked mine for 3-31/2 hours on 275.

I apologize for not showing the final product, however, Grant and I were way too hungry and I'm way too new at this. Patience is a virtue people!

PW's Perfect Pot Roast
Serves 6

3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
5 to 6 carrots
4 yellow potatoes
1 3-5lb chuck roast
Kosher salt
1 can Swanson Beef Broth
3 to 4 rosemary springs
2 to 3 thyme springs (I didn't have sprigs for either of the herbs, a tsp or two of each worked out great though!!)\

Preheat oven to 275.
Heat a dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and let it get hot.
While the oil is heating, salt your roast on both sides. Also while the oil is heating, cut two onions in half from root to tip, cutting off the root and tip afterwards. Slice the carrots into two inch pieces.
Add onions to dutch oven and let brown on each side for a minute. Remove from the pot to plate.
Then, add the carrots to the dutch oven and let brown for a minute or two. Remove from pot to plate.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and let it get hot. While waiting, pepper the roast. When oil is hot, place roast in the dutch oven and sear for one minute on each side.
Remove roast and place on plate.
Deglaze the pot by adding once cup of broth to the pan and use a whisk to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
When most of the particles are removed, add the roast, carrots, onions and potatoes back to the pot.
Add the rest of the broth, rosemary, and thyme.
Cover and cook for 3-5 hours.

Courtesy of Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oh Goodness, My First Post!!

So, I'm sure if you're reading this then you already know that this is my first blog. My goal here is to share my trials and tribulations in the kitchen, hoping that most of it turns out amazing. I'll also be sharing some of my favorite things in the kitchen, not always just recipes and how they are made. I love learning about other people's kitchens and the techniques and tools they use to cook with. Considering that I am brand-spanking-new to this who cooking thing, I'm very interested in others adventures as well.

Where did this all aspire from? Well, I'm a Nutrition and Dietetics major thriving to be a Registered Dietitian some day. Of course, I need to have some knowledge about food and food sciences so, I was encouraged to take a cooking class this past Fall. I fell in love. I learned the most simple things about cooking and baking and I wanted to try with all my might to make some delicious recipes of my own. I am far, FAR from learning how to create my own recipes but I am in a whole new world when I test out others recipes!

My two cooking inspirations are my mother and the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. My mom has been cooking amazing, soulful food for me since... forever and I've always thought, "One day when I'm married I hope I can cook like her!" Then, I wondered what the heck I was thinking waiting for marriage to start testing my skills. So, at the ripe age of 22, I've finally decided to test my limits. My mom turned me on to an amazing blog,, where I was introduced to Ree Drummond. Not only is her food so fun to make but her hilarious posts and beautiful pictures inspire me even more. Now, don't go expecting her photography skills, wittiness, or scrumptious outcomes quite yet. I have LOTS to learn guys!

So, thanks for tuning in, and thanks to my mom and sister for all my new kitchen supplies so I can get started and show you all some (hopefully delicious) results!! Oh, and pray for Grant, my genuine pig :)