Sukju namul (Mung Bean Sprout Ban Chan)

When I was younger I could never take the heat of typical Korean cuisine. Luckily for me there were some non-spicy dishes. Like this mung bean salad called sukju namul. It was always my saving grace whenever we went out to eat, it was always there amongst the hot pickely side dishes called banchan, the crunch of the mung bean with the savory notes from the sesame seed oil and sesame seeds makes for a savory dish packed with umami. Even the most delicate of pallets can enjoy this Korean side dish without guzzling a gallon of water.

The one thing that I really love about making Korean food is that most of it comes together rather quickly. The most difficult thing getting the ingredients but with Korean food gaining popularity and H-Marts being in almost every major city it’s no longer as difficult to get these ingredients.

Ingredients

1 pound sukju namul mung bean sprouts

1 scallion finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

salt about 1 teaspoon and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Rinse the bean sprouts twice in cold water. Boil 4 cups of water, in a medium size pot, along with a teaspoon of salt. Drop in the sprouts and cover. Blanch the sprouts until slightly softened, about 1 minute.
  2. Drain quickly. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out the excess water.
  3. Toss well with the remaining ingredients. Add salt to taste.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

I recently tried to make a pavlova and I tried to cheat and use meringue powder. I just find it easier to measure than egg whites, which are notoriously hard to work with. That’s the one thing with baking, your measurements need to be exact in order for your recipe to work. Unfortunately it still did not work out for me. I didn’t receive the height that I wanted. Ever since becoming a food photographer I know often think about how what I’m cooking/baking is going to translate to a picture. I’m a total fan of ugly delicious food, but we eat with our eyes. I would be doing you guys a disservice by making ugly food. I usually save those ugly delicious shots for my Instagram stories.

At the end of my pavlova debacle I had a whole big-ass tub of meringue powder (my husband could only find the 16 oz. tub) that I needed to use. Inspired by the packaging, there was this fun, fluffy, swirl that graced the label. Then I remembered that meringue cookies were a thing. I ended up tweaking Wilton’s recipe for my meringue cookies. The only thing I really changed about this recipe was that I used lemon extract instead of vanilla. The only reason I changed it was because I couldn’t find clear imitation vanilla. But to be honest I like them way better with the lemon extract. The sourness of the lemon helps to tone down the sweetness of the cookies. They’re crunchy, chewy, light, and fluffy perfect accent to any dessert table.

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Ingredients

1/4 cup Meringue Powder, 4 oz. Egg White Substitute

2 teaspoons lemon extract

1/2 cup water

1-1/3 cups granulated sugar

Favorite icing color

Directions

Preheat oven to 250°F. Prepare cookie pans with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whip Meringue Powder and water with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, gradually add sugar. Whip until stiff peaks. Add vanilla and icing color and whip until well combined, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl as necessary.

Fill Dessert Decorator Ultra with meringue. Attach tip 1M and pipe 2 in. diameter circles onto parchment-lined cookie pans, spacing 1 in. apart.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until outsides of meringues feel firm and crisp. Cool completely on pan. Peel cooled meringues off of parchment paper.

Irish Potato Shots, another St. Patty’s Day Delco tradition.

Last week I wrote about the Irish Potato candy, but this week we are going to take it a step further and talk about Irish Potato shots. Yes, we’re talking alcohol (cue LMFAO’s “Shots” song), the good stuff, the party starter, the liquid courage. Every year, Nicki, one of my best friends, her family throws a St. Patrick’s Day party. When I lived in Delco, it was always an event I looked forward too. They made such a big deal out of it because they are Irish, and like most Irish – Americans they love St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to it being the biggest Irish holiday of the year it was their mom’s birthday. There’s always a ton of food, everything from stuffed cabbage, sausage with peppers, and of course Irish Potato shots.

Now don’t get me wrong I love living in Lunenburg and the separation from the comfort of Delco has helped me to grow, but I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t get a severe case of FOMO every time St. Patrick’s Day came around. 

Every year this party is like a beacon amongst friends. When you enter the party you are overwhelmed by the amount of familiar faces all drinking, partying, and breaking each other’s stones. There are kids running a muck all over the place, people out back smoking butts, and the birthday girl, sitting in her usual place of honor – on the couch in the living room, with a box of wine next to her just for convenience. All you can hear, are the sounds of laughter from people telling old stories and everyone fighting about which details were true. And true to Irish form, the biggest insults always came from your truest friends. This is the reason why I don’t trust people, who don’t break my stones. These memories are bittersweet for me, it’s one of the many things that I miss about no longer living in Delco. But I get to re-live those memories every time I have this shot.

I remember the first time that I had them. I was sitting there, with my novelty St. Patrick’s day shot glass, hanging around my neck. When suddenly, someone appears with a pitcher of this incredibly boozy concoction. I was hesitant at first, but I was extremely intrigued by the thought of it tasting just like our beloved Irish Potato candy. As soon as it entered my mouth, it did not disappoint. With every liquor representing an ingredient in the candy, the flavors all melded together to taste like a spiked Irish Potato candy. The Bailey’s stands in for the cream cheese, Malibu rum standing in for the coconut, and the Goldenschläger for the cinnamon. Once this hits your tongue there’s no denying that this is definitely an Irish Potato. However, heed my warning, these shots will sneak up on you, like a sucker punch from your enemy.


Irish Potato Shot

Makes 4

Ingredients

1 ounce Jameson whiskey

1 ounce Baileys

1 ounce Malibu Rum

1 ounce Goldenschläger

Directions

Fill a large cup with ice. Pour all ingredients over ice, mix well. (You can use another cup and pour the ingredients back and forth between the two cups or you can use a cocktail shaker.)

Strain mix into shot glasses.

Enjoy (responsibly)!

Irish Potatoes Recipe: An Irish Delco candy tradition.

Hey guys! I’m back after a much needed break. I’ve been going hard on here for over a year! Can you guys believe it? And I have to admit, lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. This blog has opened up so many things for me, and I’m not just talking opportunities, it has made me realize my passion for photography, social justice, and mental health. Mental health being the reason why I took a break.

As more time goes on, I constantly set myself to hire standards for this blog, making it become more stressful then fun. When I first started this blog it gave me so much purpose, but then as time went on and my standards for my writing and my photos started to rise, I found myself more and more stressed. I started worrying about not having the right props to portray a certain scene, not having a enough words in my blog post to show up in a Google Search, not having enough time to explore the restaurant and shops that I wanted to showcase.

Then on top of this I decided to take on other side projects, like working with my community and stretching my photography wings by including portraits into my photography repertoire. That’s when I came to realize how stressful this all became, I decided to cut the fat and only focus on what’s important. That’s right, I Marie Kondo’d that shit, and if it didn’t bring me joy, then I cut it out. What was left was my photography portfolio and this blog. That’s right this blog still sparks joy for me, even though it can cause me stress, it still gives me so much purpose. I’ve learned to prioritize my other passions around it. I’m also going to try to be more open, honest, and vulnerable on here. Because I know that it has to be comforting for someone else out there who reads this blog to know that I struggle too. And if reading this made just one person feel better, then I’ve completed what I set out to do.

But enough of the personal stuff and back to why you’re really here. For the Irish Potatoes, which really don’t have potatoes in them at all.

Being from Delco, PA, March meant three things…Shamrock Shakes, St. Patty Day bar crawls, and Irish Potatoes. I’m not talking the things that grow in the ground. I’m talking about a little ball of coconut and cream cheese covered in cinnamon, so that it actually resembles an Irish potato. I remember making these when I was in Girl Scouts as a kid, but then I never made them after that. You didn’t need too, as soon as we turned the calendar to March, every grocery store in town had them. The most popular brand being Oh Ryan’s, they are based out of Boothwyn which was the next town over from where I grew up.

After I moved to Massachusetts and had my first St. Patrick’s Day here, imagine my horror, my surprise, my shock that we did not have Irish Potatoes. I thought, surely this was a mistake, but alas after a half a dozen failed trips to the store, they were never put out. That’s when I decided that I couldn’t let my beloved tradition of getting drunk and eating cream cheese filled candies die. That’s when I started making my own. One year I made them from my son’s class, deciding that even though it was a Delco tradition there was no reason for them to miss out on the fun. My son actually helps me make them, it’s actually a really fun recipe to make with the kids. It helps their fine motor skills by rolling the little candies into a ball and it’s also really fun to roll them in the cinnamon. Plus if there’s no nuts so kids with nut allergies can actually enjoy them too.

Irish Potato Candy

Makes: 30

Ingredients

2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup butter softened

4 oz cream cheese softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

16 oz powdered sugar about 4 cups

7 oz sweetened flaked coconut 2 1/2 cups

Directions

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and add ground cinnamon to a small bowl. Set both aside.

Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth, about 5-7 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add vanilla extract, then beat for 30 seconds.

Keeping speed on low, slowly scoop in powdered sugar, adding about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time and beating thoroughly between each addition.

Turn off mixer and remove bowl. Pour in flaked coconut and use a spatula (or your hands) to knead the ingredients together.

Using a 1 teaspoon cookie scoop, scoop out dough and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Drop the ball in the small bowl of cinnamon and roll to coat. Place finished candy ball on prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until all dough has been used.

Place dough in the freezer and let chill for 1 hour or until the candy has set. If desired, roll candy in cinnamon again for a fresh, powdery coat.

Serve candy immediately. Candy can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


The 6 things you need to start your garden.

Continuing with the garden theme. (Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how to start planning for your garden.) I thought it would be helpful if I put together a list of the things you need to start your garden. Now honestly some of these things aren’t essential but they really do insure a successful grow. A lot of these things you may already have around the house, such as the spray bottle and a desk lamp. Most of the things on this list are under $15, but these things should last you a long time.

*There are affiliate links in this post. If you happen to click on one of the links to purchase something, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Of course I only promote items that I would use. I would never promote anything I wouldn’t use myself. But I think you guys already knew that.

[The garden] is a place where we nurture, and where we learn patience and observation. – Baker Creek Seeds

Trowel

A good trowel is essential to being a gardener. They can help you dig up old plants and help fill new containers with soil. Look for one with a comfortable handle and I also like the ones with a ruler on the inside of the spade (this is really helpful for planting bulbs). This one from Amazon is perfect and under $10.

Seed starting tray with dome.

I find that this is one of those crucial items that you need to have if you really want to have a successful garden, especially if you want to grow herbs. Sure you can start seed in a plastic cup if you need to (trust me I started several that way last year, see below) but having this set up gives your seeds the humidity it needs to thrive. I’ve had luck with this one over the years. When you’re done you can clean out the cells (the part that actually holds the soil and the seeds) and use them again next year. You can also use egg cartons like the ones I have pictured above, but I find that sometimes they are too shallow. That’s why I usually use peat pellets along with the egg carton. When they expand, they fit perfectly in the egg carton and allow enough depth for root growth.

Watermelon seeds

Soil

The type of soil you get is probably the most important thing you will do. There are literally thousands of articles on how to test and amend your soil. We go the easy route every year and just get bunch of compost (really good soil) from our local nursery Lakeview. We always get a couple of yards dropped off every year. You can ask your local nursery about their compost. We also use the compost we’ve been making all year and add it to what we get from the nursery. However, if you’re planting a container garden Happy Frog from Fox Farm is a great bagged soil to use.

Seeds

Seeds are definitely important, you only want to buy high quality seeds with a high germination rate. Also if you want to plant all organic (even though in my opinion it’s all about how you grow it, not where it comes from) make sure to look out for the companies that have an organic option. I usually just buy seeds from our local nursery or farm, but this year I want to grow some really cool and colorful varieties of vegetables, so I ended up buying a ton from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. A lot of the seeds from this company are not vegetables that you would normally see at your local grocer, which makes them fun to grow. However, there are a ton of seed suppliers out there, if you’re looking for a place to start check out my Pinterest page.

Spray Bottle

Okay, you don’t really need a spray bottle, but it does help prevent your seedlings from drowning if you were to use a watering can. Being able to lightly spritz your seeds/seedlings will help to keep them hydrated with out causing damage to them. Remember your seedlings are very fragile and we want to be as gentle as possible with them.

Light Source

Your typical light sources are grow lights, a south facing window, or simply a desk lamp with a CFL lightbulb. Most serious gardeners will use a grow light set up, but I’ve been able to get away with just using a desk lamp near a large bay window. I’ve had tremendous luck with this set up, but I also get a good amount of sun. If you don’t get good sunlight in your house, you may have to use to lamps or a proper grow lamp.

Having these basic things will definitely help your gardening season go smoothly. However, the best thing to have for starting a garden is patience. It will seem like a long time before you have a lush beautiful garden, but with a little time, patience, and nurturing you’ll get the garden that you want.

H&M Farm

Heather Bowen of H&M Farmis what you can call a Jill of all trades. She has worn many hats throughout her life, from being a professor and teaching tourism & hospitality, to raising her own ducks, and most famously for her bread. The type of bread she makes ranges from sweet to savory. Some of my favorites being the cinnamon swirl, plain white, and, cheese. They are a staple at the Lunenburg Farmers Market, where she also happens to be the manager. Last year (with the help of Jackie Chabot owner of In the Meadow Farm), she helped to bring in fun events such as Family Day, Poopapalooza, Makers Day, and Fiber Day. These events helped to create a sense of community and also helped create an opportunity for folks to meet their local farmers.

I have had the pleasure of getting to know Heather over the holidays, she was even kind enough to invite me to her open house at her farm. As soon as I got there I was greeted with such warmth and kindness that it was very easy for me to lose track of time. However, the best part of the whole open house was being able to taste all of her breads. They all tasted amazing. Each kind had a wonderful crust with a super soft interior but hearty enough that they still had some texture. They also tasted delicious with the homemade jams she served alongside of them.

Heather began baking bread as a hobby at first (something that she did out of the love for baking for other people) but then after multiple requests for more bread she decided that maybe this is something that would do well at the Lunenburg Farmers Market, and she was right. Heather’s bread is now a staple at the Lunenburg Farmers Market and it now has its own following and club where members can buy loaves on a weekly basis. Even though she is well known for her bread, she also bakes pies as well, being sure to use locally sourced ingredients.

The reason that she knows where to get the best locally sourced ingredients is because her family has long roots in this area ( her family being connected to the once famous Whalom Park). She has lived in many places throughout her life, but like so many others who have left and then came back, she has made her way back here to Lunenburg to make a life for herself.

Heather truly picked an ideal place to have a farm. Lunenburg is a right to farm community and there are a lot of homes and properties that have enough acreage to do so, plus when all of your neighbors have farms or homesteads it’s hard not to want to become a farmer. But she has dreamed of her own farm since she was a little a girl, her parents often tried to quell her urge to bring home farm animals by letting her adopt all the cats she could find. In another attempt to satisfy her desire to own farm animals her parents sent her to Smithfield Farm (now known as Pine Fall Farm) where she spent most of her summers mucking stalls, feeding, and caring for the horses. It has been a long time since she has had to care for horses, although now her main focus is on her ducks.

I did not get a chance to taste the ducks that she has been raising, but if what they say is true about well loved animals tasting better then I’m sure that they taste divine. I had the opportunity to help Heather with her ducks and it was amazing to watch her interact with them. She knew each of their personalities, breeds, and color-while I stood there completely dumbfounded that she could even tell the difference between them. To the untrained eye they look just like a flock of ducks. Her immense knowledge of raising these animals blew me away. She could tell which ones were feeling anxious, lonely, or even feisty. She could read them better than I could read my own children. The love that she has for her animals, seriously had me contemplating raising my own birds, but I know better than to just jump into owning birds, especially after helping her muck all those stalls. It’s a lot of work caring for farm animals, it is something that you must be passionate about.

She has educated many people from our community about farm life and all the ugly that it entails. But she, like most of the farmers in our community, welcome a chance to educate people about farm life and she always has an open door policy at her farm. She is always open and always welcomes visitors. This is why she embodies the spirit of the Lunenburg farmer, someone who is open, knowledgeable, and willing to share.

Heather makes farm life look easy, even romantic in a way, but she has never been shy letting people know that having a farm is not pretty. It’s hard work, but ultimately it’s one of the most fulfilling things that you can ever do. It’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s why I’m so thankful for people like Heather who take joy in doing all the dirty work.

If you would like to purchase bread from H&M Farm or to inquire about ducks you can reach her via Facebook or call (540) 878-1259.

How to start planning for your garden.

Tomatoes did really well last year

Gardening is in my blood, well at least I like to think so, it took me a long time to get my green thumb, but I would always see my mom tending her garden and I always thought it be cool to have my own one day. Contrary to popular belief you can learn how to garden, you don’t have to be born with this mystical power to keep plants alive. I hate to admit this but I have killed many a plant, but I learned that it’s all trial and error. Eventually you’ll find your groove and discover that your green thumb has been there all along.

Now with that being said, it’s probably best that you do your research before planting your garden. First you have to figure out which zone you’re in, then you have to decide what you want to grow. Our first real year of having a garden we grew what we bought from the store, lots of tomatoes, basil, carrots, and thyme. Over the years we have expanded to more plants than that. This year I want to branch out and try to grow some more heirloom varieties, so I did some research and found two new seed companies that had some interesting variety of seeds. I really want to make sure that I have a high germination rate this year and decided to spend a little more money on seeds this year and not just rely on what’s available at the grocery store.

I chose these companies because other people I follow have used them and have had great success. One seed company that I’m using is Seeds Now and they have really great information and tools to help you have a really successful grow. The other site I decided to order from was Baker Creek Seeds. With me taking my photography more seriously, this year I wanted to grow funky produce that would be visually interesting. Their site has so many cool varieties of vegetables that it was hard not to want to buy them all. My wishlist on this site is definitely a mile long. Expect to see a lot of still life pictures of funky vegetables this year.

Things to consider…

  • Decide where to put your garden. Whether you’re planning to have a small herb garden, or a large crop you have to figure out where you’re going to put it. You have to take in to consideration how much sun does this spot receive, and how you’re going to water your plants.
  • Choose what to grow and order your seeds. This is where you want to refer to a grow zone chart and make sure that what you want to grow, will actually grow. You don’t want to grow a tropical plant when where you live has really harsh winters. Once you get your seeds check to see which ones you can start indoors, it’s often best to start your plants indoors when possible, this will insure that your plants will thrive during the growing season. Your plants will need to be harden off before you place them in their permanent home outdoors.
  • Decide where to put your plants. You want to make sure that you plant all your full sun plants in spots that receive 6 or more hours of sunlight. Also you want to make sure you’re not blocking any other plants from getting sun, for example don’t plant a bean pole in front of your tomatoes that need full sun. It’s also good for your plants to have company, this is called companion planting. When you pair up certain types of plants they help to keep away pest and encourage growth, plus it helps your garden look pretty. I like to use the growing guides here to figure out where I’m going to place my plants. The Old Farmers Almanac also has a plant growing guide that you could use as well, but it’s a 7 day trial. It looked really convenient for figuring out where to plant, but I like fussing over my hand drawn diagrams.
  • Prepare your soil.   You will need to amend your soil. I like to add compost to my raised garden beds to help add nutrients back in to the soil. Your soil should smell earthy and should be a rich dark brown color.
  • Waiting to plant at the right time. I know that whenever I get my seeds, I get really anxious and want to start planting them right away, but over the years I’ve learned that it’s best to wait until the appropriate time. Sometimes I will label the seed packets in bold to remind myself when to start them.
  • Plant the seeds according to their directions. Almost all seed companies will give you instructions on how to germinate their seeds and what conditions are best for each plant. It’s important to follow these instructions correctly, this will be a determining factor in making sure that your seeds pop.
  • Weed regularly. This is the part that I hate the most and I’m often guilty of not doing. You don’t want to let this chore go for too long, that’s why it’s best to do it everyday. Mulching and adding a layer of compost on top help to suppress weeds as well.
Watermelon blossom

A couple more pieces of advice…

  • Start small and don’t be to over ambitious. This is something that I’m definitely guilty of (especially this year with my she shed) I bite off more than I can chew and end up with really poor crops.
  • Grow tomatoes or basil if this is your first time growing anything from seed. I’ve always had luck with these plants, they’re very easy to grow especially for beginners. Another good plant to start with are beets, they have a short grow period and are ready to harvest within 45 days, this is nice if you’re an impatient person.
  • Don’t let not having a backyard stop you from having a garden. If you can’t have a backyard garden, you should have at least a container garden, either on your balcony or near a south facing window. There are so many thing you can grow in containers from vegetables to herbs and the best part you don’t have to deal with weeding!
  • Gardening is about patience. It’s easy for an antsy person either to get bored or forget about plants, so make sure you set reminders on your phone to water/feed your plants when you have to.

Really just try to have fun and most of all just enjoy the process. I promise you it’s not that hard. Happy planting!

String Beans topped with Chorizo

String beans have to be my favorite vegetable. It was the one vegetable growing up that I didn’t have to be forced to eat. Although my dad never forced me to eat anything, which in a round about way made more of an adventurous eater, go figure.

I made this side dish for Christmas and it was fantastic. But I have to admit that it did not come out of thin air. The recipe fairies did not bless me with this recipe, this dish came out of necessity. I have this nasty habit of not putting all the ingredients on the grocery list and often I have to think of something on the fly. The original recipe called for bacon, but I forgot it (seriously who forgets about bacon? only me!), however we had some leftover chorizo and I thought that would be a great substitute. The smokey notes from the chorizo compliments the string beans well. Plus if you’re someone who need an incentive to eat your veggies, this dish is perfect. It’s nice getting those bits of chorizo every so often.

String Beans topped with Chorizo

Ingredients

2 ounce chorizo, sliced

1 lb. string beans

2 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper

Directions

In a dutch oven on medium heat, cook chorizo until crispy, rendering out all the fat. Remove the chorizo, leaving the fat at the bottom, and place on a paper towel lined plate.

Now add string beans and chicken broth to the empty dutch oven, bring to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, until broth reduces by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chop chorizo and garnish string beans with chopped chorizo.

Swedish Tea Ring

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that all of you guys are off to a good start so far. I know I am and I’m ready to go for this year. I have so many things in plan for this year, but I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet, I want to make sure that everything is in place before I make any official announcements. All I can say is that I’m really trying to put more effort into playing a bigger part in my community.

On another note I’ve been baking like crazy (did you see my stained glass cookie experiment?) and I’ve really been digging into some of my vintage cookbooks lately. I came across this recipe in an old Fannie Farmer book. It sounded like this really elegant bread, but to be honest it tastes (my version) just like cinnamon raisin bread. If you leave the raisins and the cinnamon out, it tastes just like regular white bread. It’s very similar to a brioche. The one thing that I changed about this recipe is the use of nuts. I left them out simply because I had none, but you can certainly add them if you wish.

It’s best eaten toasted on the stove top with a little butter.

Swedish Tea Bread

Ingredients

1/2 cup melted butter

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups hot milk

1 package of dry yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast

1 egg, well beaten

1 teaspoon almond extract

7 cups white flour

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins

1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon of water (egg wash)

Directions

Mix the butter, sugar, salt, and hot milk in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and let cool to lukewarm.

Stir the yeast into 1/4 cup warm water and let it stand for 5 minutes to dissolve. Add the dissolved yeast, egg, almond extract, and 3 cups of flour to stand mixer, until completely mixed. Add 3 more cups of flour and mix well. Turn on to a lightly floured counter, knead for a minute or two (dough will be very sticky) let rest for 10 minutes.

Gradually add the remaining flour to the rested dough by kneading the bread by hand to incorporate the remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a large buttered bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

After the dough has risen, punch it down, knead it for a minute or two, and divide it in half. Roll and shape the first piece with your hands into a long thin roll. Using a rolling pin and an unfloured board, roll it into a thin rectangle, about 7 x 16 inches. It will stick to the board but may easily be lifted with a knife.

Spread with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. Starting with the long side, roll like a jelly roll. Trim, if necessary and join the ends to form a ring. Place on a buttered parchment lined baking sheet and make perpendicular cuts, with scissors about 1 inch a part and then spread open, so that one side falls flat. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Cover and let rise to almost double in bulk. Using a pastry brush, brush egg wash all over the top of the loaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until deep golden brown, rotating halfway through.

As usually let me know how this recipe worked out for you and leave a comment below!

Crinkle Cookies

These have to be Santa’s favorite cookies.  They are so incredibly good. It’s like a cookie and a brownie made a baby and then rolled it in powder sugar. They taste like the best of the brownie, you know that chewy top layer that’s all shiny. They are an absolute hit in my house and I know they will be in yours. 

I modified this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. I just used what I had on hand and they still turned out pretty delicious. I made mine a little under baked because I like my cookie gooey. I also use salted butter, I know every recipe tells you to use unsalted butter because you never know how salty it’ll make your recipe. But my thought is that if you use your normal brand of butter anyway all it will do is enhance the flavor of whatever you’re trying to make.

Sorry for the short blog post this week. It’s Christmas time and we are busy with all the holiday activities. I’m also trying to get a little mentally organized for the year a head. I have so many new goals and ideas for this blog that I’m really excited for the year to come.

Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients 

1cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

½ cup (1 1/2 ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounce semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 tablespoons  butter

½ cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar

½ cup (2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in bowl.

 Whisk brown sugar, eggs,  and vanilla together in large bowl. Combine chocolate and butter in bowl and microwave at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

 Place granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar in separate shallow dishes. Working with 2 tablespoons dough (or use #30 scoop) at a time, roll into balls. Drop dough balls directly into granulated sugar and roll to coat. Transfer dough balls to confectioners’ sugar and roll to coat evenly. Evenly space dough balls on prepared sheets, 11 per sheet.

Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone), about 12 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cool completely on sheet before serving.