Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Homemade Flour Tortillas

While preparing supper tonight I went to the refrigerator to get the last of the ingredients for my dinner—tortillas.  I thought I had purchased a package but they were nowhere to be found. My daughter was talking to me on Facetime and suggested that I make some from scratch.  So I did, and was so happy at how easy they were to make and how delicious they were.   

Homemade Flour Tortillas
Adapted from Gourmet

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Crisco shortening
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm water

  1. Stir together flour with salt in a bowl. Cut in Crisco with a fork or pastry cutter to a meal-like texture. 
  2. Slowly pour vegetable oil over the mixture and stir in warm water with a fork to form dough. 
  3. Knead on a lightly floured surface a few minutes until smooth and elastic.  Dust hands occasionally with flour if dough becomes sticky.
  4. Form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for one hour. Heat a griddle or cast-iron skillet over low heat until hot. 
  5. Cut dough into 12 equal-size portions and roll each into a ball.
  6. Roll out one ball at a time using just enough flour to prevent dough from sticking. Keep remaining dough covered with plastic wrap. Roll out each ball into an even circle.  Cook each tortilla as you roll the next.
  7. Cook the tortilla for a half-minute to a minute until it form bubbles. Turn it over and cook the other side. Remove onto a towel or rack to cool. 


Friday, December 14, 2012

White Chocolate Dipped Almond Biscotti

Making biscotti from scratch is simple. So simple that I felt a tinge of regret for waiting so many years to try it. If you can make a batch of cookies, you can make biscotti. A basic, yet adaptable dough is formed into two logs on a cookie sheet and baked, cut into pieces and then baked again until crisp. That's it! I say that it's adaptable because you can swap out almonds for pretty much anything from dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chunks, crystalized ginger, coconut, citrus zest and countless other mix-ins depending on your mood or perhaps a favorite flavor profile of the gift recipient. After the biscotti cooled, I dipped the bottoms in white chocolate, but you could drizzle on chocolate or just skip it altogether. No matter how you slice it, at the end of the day biscotti are the perfect gift or the perfect indulgence dipped in a steamy cup of hot chocolate.

White Chocolate Dipped Almond Biscotti
Adapted from this recipe at Pass the Sushi
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
10 ounces white chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Spread the almonds out on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted, shaking the pan halfway through. Set aside to cool.
  3. Using a food processor, pulse together 1/2 cup of the almonds and 1 tablespoon of sugar until finely ground, then add the flour, baking powder and salt and pulse a few more times until mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl or stand mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and 3/4 cup sugar together for 3 minutes until fluffy and thick. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and then fold in the almonds.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with greased parchment paper.
  6. Divide the biscotti dough in half and form two 2x10 inch loaves, smoothing the tops. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  7. Gently slice the loaves into 1/2 inch slices and spread out on the baking sheet, bottom side still facing down. Bake an additional 20 minutes or until the biscotti are crisp. Remove from oven and cool completely before dipping.
  8. To dip the biscotti, melt the white chocolate in the microwave or using a double boiler. Dip the bottoms of each biscotti in the chocolate and place on a cooling rack until firm. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Caramel Frosting

Saturday was the first day that felt like autumn was nearing and when it comes to cooking, it's hands down my favorite time of year to pull out all the stops. This past weekend I was in full-on cooking mode. I made a huge batch of silky soup, a loaf of this whole wheat bread, pot roast and chocolate whoopie pies filled with a caramel frosting.

The chocolate cake used in this recipe is rich in cocoa flavor but not overly sweet, so it is a perfect base for the sweet caramel frosting which is reminiscent to the delicious frosting that adorns Southern caramel cakes. 

Can't get enough whoopie pies? Here are a few other recipes we've made:

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Caramel Frosting
Whoopie Pies:
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1-½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder

Caramel Frosting:
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup milk
2-¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Mix together the sugar, butter, vanilla, egg and milk.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to wet mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Drop by tablespoons on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make the caramel frosting: In a saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and boil over low heat 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  7. Add milk and bring to a boil. Cool to lukewarm.
  8. In a mixing bowl, beat together the powdered sugar, butter mixture and vanilla until smooth. 
  9. To assemble, spoon frosting on one chocolate cake and top with another.