Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whole-Wheat Burger Buns (Vegan)

I made these with burgers made from my meatballs recipe, and I think my family enjoyed the buns even more than they enjoyed the burgers, which if you haven't tried that recipe, is really saying something.

 Adding the sesame and poppy seeds add a little more pizazz to these easy home-made buns.
I adapted the recipe from Holy Cow Vegan's Whole Wheat Burger Buns.

Brett Dennen- "Ain't No Reason"


  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp vital wheat gluten flour (optional)
  • 1½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ cups warm water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil


Mix the sugar, ½ cup warm water and the yeast in a mixing bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes until the mixture starts to froth, indicating the yeast is alive and well.

Sift all the flours, salt, and baking soda into the bowl. Knead on low speed in a stand mixer or by hand for about 3 minutes, trickling in 1 cup of water until you have a dough that's smooth but slightly sticky. If you are leaving out the gluten, knead at least 2 more minutes.

Add the oil and continue to knead until the oil has been absorbed by the dough, about 1 more minute.
Now place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat all over with oil, cover with a kitchen towel, and set aside for 2 hours until the dough has risen.

Punch down the dough and divide into 6 ball. Shape them into smooth balls.

Place the buns on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet, at least a couple of inches apart. Flatten the tops slightly with your fingers, and let the buns rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. Place the buns in the oven and bake 25 minutes.
Brush the tops with a little oil for a pretty, glossy look. Sprinkle some sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the top, if desired.
Remove to a rack and allow the buns to cool before breaking them off.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Black Bottom Bites

 I chose to make these delicious bites from I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas
for this month's Leftover's Club exchange (check it out!).
(Yes, I am aware that it is August and Christmas is as far away as it could possibly be)
But these tiny bites looked to good to resist!
And in my chocolate-swayed opinion, they are perfect for all occasions.
The Script - "Man Who Can't Be Moved"
 (A few of my friends went to the Script/One Republic concert near Cincinnati, so I've been listening to their songs all week!)


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 up plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tbsp salt
  • 3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp dark rum
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate mini morsels 
  •  One 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat 24 nonstick mini muffin cups with the melted butter.

In a sifter combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Sift into  a large bowl. Add the water, oil, and rum and stir with a whisk until thoroughly combined (the batter will be slightly lumpy). Add the chocolate morsels, and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter.

Place the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low for 1 minute, then beat on medium-high for 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolk and beat on medium for 30 seconds, until combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the filling until thoroughly combined.

Portion slightly less than 1 level tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup. Now spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of the cream cheese filling on top of the batter, and finally top off with slightly less than 1 level tbsp of batter. Place the muffin tins on the center rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12 minutes (rotate the tins 180 degrees halfway through the baking time). Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature in the cups for 10 minutes. Invert the cups to release the bites   onto cooling rack, and allow to cool for another 15 minutes. They can be stores in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

These melt-in-your-mouth delights will disappear faster than you can say "lemon" and they are as easy to make as short bread. I wrapped them up and gave them to my teachers as end of the year gifts. 

"Teenage FBI" Guided by Voices


  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt


Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add lemon zest and juice and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parchment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I made these at the end of the school year for an AP chemistry food day. They were so good my chemistry teacher, who usually doesn't eat too much on food days had two bars! This summer has been incredibly busy, but I'm hoping to seize these last couple of weeks and finally get back to cooking again.

"I am a Rock" Simon and Garfunkel 
Adapted from Our Best Bites


1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (or ginger snaps)
1 lb (3 1/2 C) powdered sugar
1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 C (2 sticks) real butter, melted
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark, you pick!)
2 tsp shortening


In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and peanut butter and butter and beat until combined.  Press into a parchment (or waxed paper or foil) lined 9×13 pan.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth.  Pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture and spread out evenly.  Place pan in the fridge just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars.  Tip:  If the bars chill until the chocolate is too hard to easily cut, use a sharp knife and score the cuts first, then gently cut through.  Can be stored in the fridge or at room temp.  They will stay firmer if stored in the fridge.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cucumber-Watermelon Salad

Simple and good. The perfect combination of sweet and tart.
If you're looking for a recipe to help you cool off, you've found it.

The watermelon and lemon juice combined with the cucumber and mint make a perfect flavor. 

"West Coast Friendship" Owl City


1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cups of watermelon, cubed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
fresh mint leaves 


Combine ingredients.

Watermelon Rind Crisp Sweet Pickles

I have a small confession:
I'd never actually canned anything before, but this recipe looked perfect for our surplus of watermelon. I had to give it a try!

The process was much easier than I expected. 
(Except for scraping the lids out of the boiling water. Cohesive properties were not on my side)
All the spices smelled so good!
I'm trying  to hold off eating them until at least September, but its a struggle.

   "Fever" The Black Keys

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh


6 cups cold water
1/3 cup pickling salt
6 cups peeled watermelon rind (white and light pink part only), cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups ice cubes
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks (3 inches long)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves 


In a large bowl, whisk together the cold water and pickling salt. Place the watermelon rind in another large nonreactive bowl, and pour the salt-water mixture over it. Add the ice cubes, transfer to the refrigerator, and let sit for at least 6 hours or over-night.

Drain the watermelon rind and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Transfer it to a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the drained watermelon rind and cook for about 1 hour, or until the rind is almost completely translucent.

Divide the watermelon rind between two sterilized pint canning jars, and add enough pickling liquid to cover the rind by at least 1/4 inch. Add a cinnamon stick to each jar. There should be at least 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel and attach the lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the hot water bath and let them cool. The jars should seal as they cool. Any jar that does not seal properly should be refrigerated and the pickles consumed within two weeks.

The pickles will keep, stored in a cool dark place, for up to 1 year.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Dipped Apricots

I joined the Leftover's Club last month, and shipped my fist box of leftovers last week. 
I had some trouble settling on what to ship. What wouldn't break up into crumbs if it was shaken too much in the mail? What wouldn't go bad or melt in the oppressive heat? After scouring pages of recipe books and the far reaches of the internet, I finally found these chocolate-coconut macaroons.
They are so easy and so crunchy and chocolatey!

I ate a few too many! (They are really good!) So I supplemented them with chocolate-dipped apricots.
You just dip dried apricots in melted chocolate and sprinkle on the chopped almonds.
These are the delicious jam-filled white chocolate cookies I received from Shashi at Runnin' Srilankan

"Space Cowboy" Steve Miller


  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute. Stir and then heat for another minute until completely melted. 

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the egg whites and vanilla with a fork. Stir the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Add the melted chocolate chips to the batter, andm ix with a rubber spatula to combine.

Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out small rounds of dough - about 1 1/2 tbsp each- onto parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Using your fingertips, shape each cookie into a neat little dome. If the batter is too sticky, wash your hands thoroughly and leave them a bit wet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until they are slightly crisp on the outside but still soft inside. Do not over-bake. Transfer the macaroons to a wire rack and let them cool completely.