Thanksgiving 2011: Night of Turducken

Oh hey guys.  Thanksgiving totally happened last week.  It was epic.  Want to know why?

One word.

Turducken.

It happened.  We baked it for about 9 hours at 225F.  Totally worth it.

It looks like a turkey, but so much better.  I hope it becomes a Casa De Leon tradition.

Another amazing discovery, Paula’s Mystery Pecan Pie. (bottom right in pic below)

I don’t know why it’s a mystery, but what I do know is that it’s delicious. Please make it for your next holiday gathering.

Sorry for my lame-o post.  I’m tired of food.  But don’t worry tomorrow night is epic baking night.

On the menu… 200 cookies.

Wish me luck!

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Caramel Pretzel Brownies

I have a tendency to under-cook things.  It’s a bad habit, but to me, over-cooked anything is disgusting.

Who likes a soggy vegetable? (Other than Italians who seem to overcook ALL their vegetables… or maybe that was just FAO)  I like mine to have a bit of a crunch still.

Overcook your Thanksgiving turkey… Not delicious.

Steak well-done.  My dad likes to say it’s like the sole of a shoe.

Brownies are really no different.

I am of the firm belief that all brownies should always be a little undercooked.  If you’re in the brownie’s fully cooked camp.  We can’t be friends.  Sorry.

I really would like to find a middle ground, but no.  I can’t.  Slightly undercooked brownies are amazing.

Want to know what’s even better?

Slightly undercooked brownies with caramel in the middle and pretzels on top.


No words.


Caramel Pretzel Brownies

For Brownies:
4 Squares Bakers Unsweetend Chocolate
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
handful of pretzel sticks

For Caramel:

1 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

While the oven heats, make the caramel.  Heat the sugar in a saucepan until the sugar melts and turns golden.  Remove from heat, stir in butter and add pinch of salt, once butter is incorporated, stream in cream while stirring.  Once well combined, set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, make the brownie batter.  In a pan, melt together butter and chocolate.  In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and eggs.  Once the butter and chocolate have melted together, stream into sugar/egg combo while stirring.  Stir in flour until just combined.

Pour half the batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish (or line with parchment paper, which is what I did, and I used 2 9×9-inch pans).  Then drizzle caramel over first half of the batter.  If your caramel cooled too much and got sorta firm, you can reheat it a tiny bit.  Then pour the rest of the batter over the caramel.  Arrange pretzels on top.  Bake approximately 30 minutes or until it no longer jiggles in the center (it might take a little longer, but not sure).  But remember, the goal is a slightly undercooked center.

This will yield, amazingly fudgy, dense, delicious brownies.  They’re not super thick, but trust me, they more than make up for it in flavor.

So actually when I made these, I made two kinds.  Caramel and Peanut Butter.


So if you’d like, you can use peanut butter instead of caramel.

Both are delicious, the caramel was just extra delicious.

See the caramel in there? (hint: look to the left!)

Divine.

They’re gooey, sweet, salty,  and most importantly slightly undercooked all in one perfect little square.

I’m pretty sure that means they’ll make the perfect treat any time.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Filling and Raspberry Frosting

We all have oh-shit moments.

You know what I’m talking about.

Oh shit, I just cut an extra inch off my bangs.

You’re on a date, wearing a dress.  All of a sudden you realize… oh shit, I totally didn’t shave my left leg.

Sitting alone in your room with your computer, a spoon and a jar of peanut butter… Oh shit, I totally just ate half a jar of peanut butter.  Don’t say it’s never happened to youYou probably felt a little ill afterward.  Oh shit, I did.

But there are also good oh-shit moments.

Oh shit, I can’t believe a boy left me soup on my doorstep.

or at 6:45am… oh shit, I can’t believe I just ran 4 miles.

and oh shit, these cupcakes are delicious.

It might be my obsession with lemon, but I thought these were great!  Others agreed.  Lemon curd makes everything better.  So imagine a delicious lemon cupcake, filled with lemon curd and then topped with raspberry cream cheese frosting.

I know.  It makes you want to say oh shit, right? I totally get it.  We don’t have to talk about the bad language.  Focus on the cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

For cupcakes:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
zest and juice of three lemons
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
Lemon Curd filling

For Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 stick butter, room temp
1 lb powdered sugar
4 tbsp raspberry preserve

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice and sour cream.  In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk.  Mix until just combined.

Pour batter into lined cupcake pan.  Bake 17-20 minutes (depending on your oven).  Mine took 17 minutes.  Also accidentally wayyyy over baked the first 12 and had to throw them away.  Beware!  These might not look done on top but poke them with a toothpick after 16ish minutes to see when they’re ready!

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, then cut holes in the top using a knife and scoop some out.  Then put some lemon curd in a ziploc bag, cut off an end and pipe some lemon curd into each cupcake.

Next make the frosting, throw all the ingredients in a bowl and let your hand/stand mixer do the work.  If it’s too stiff, add some liquid (or more raspberry preserve), if it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.  Adjust accordingly.

Frost your cupcakes and serve them up.  They don’t have to be perfect or uniform.  They’ll be delicious either way.

Then, wait for your audience to say oh shit.  Listen carefully, they might say it quietly if they’re trying to be polite.

The final oh shit moment of the night… I made a Facebook page for Foodologie.

Oh shit.

Please “like” me.

Double Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s a pretty well-known fact that I’m a nerd, and I totally okay with it.

I like to think I’m at least a cool nerd, but realistically, I’m just a nerd, especially when it comes to food.  I read recipes for fun.  I talk about things I want to try to make (why yes, I do want to make a turducken and roast an entire goat.  No, I don’t usually eat meat.  That totally makes sense.).  I go on solo dates to grocery stores where I walk around looking at random ingredients and imagining what I can make with them.

That happened a few weeks ago when I was walking around my newest favorite grocery store, Sprouts.  (Sorry, Wegmans I couldn’t handle the distance.)

I came across crystallized ginger, and my eyes lit up like Christmas.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that ginger is exciting, but honesty is the best policy so I’ll go with it.

I spend a lot of time thinking about ginger.

There’s something about crystallized ginger that makes me want to curl into my bed with a blanket, a cup of tea and a cookie.  Specifically this cookie:

These cookies feel like fall.  That seems to be a theme for me, recently.  But it’s November, and my body seems to have forgotten what less than 60F feels like, so let’s embrace the ginger.

Throw it in everything.  Start with these cookies.

Double Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
2 cups flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat over to 350F.

Cream together butter, sugar, egg and molasses.  Stir in crystallized ginger.  Add in dry ingredients except chocolate chips.  Mix until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.

The dough will be sorta dry, but will come together when you form it into balls.  So don’t be discouraged or tempted to add more wet ingredients!

Place golf ball sized balls on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake 10-14 minutes or until just golden around the edges.  Allow to cool a few minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Once they’ve cooled enough, put some on a plate, make a cup of tea, get into bed and watch something totally nerdy, like Star Trek… or Twilight… At least this way nerdy is tasty.

 

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

Friends, I have a confession.  Yeah, I know.  Another one?  Yeah.  I have another one.

I think muffins are boring.

A cupcake is exciting because it has frosting.  Quick breads are fun because they’re generally in loaf form, and let’s be honest, anything in loaf form is automatically cool.  True story.  Don’t even get me started on bundt cakes.

But the point is that muffins are blah, so I usually avoid them.  That said, the beauty of the muffin is the fact that it bakes quickly.  Go 20 mins?  Put some muffins in the oven.

I tried to make these look more exciting by using parchment paper instead of cupcake liners.

Fail.  They’re not any cuter.

But they are tasty.  Thanks to Biscotti Queen (who shared this recipe with me), I’m going to share with you this recipe.

If you feel a little more lame after making them, sorry.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Actually I take that back, you’ll feel lame until you try them (or just the batter which I swear was amazing).

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup veg oil
1 1/5 cups white sugar
1 1/2 tbsp molasses
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mace
1/2 tsp ginger

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Combine wet ingredients and sugar in a large bowl.  Add dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Scoop batter into lined muffin pan.  Bake about 20 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.

Then let them cool, put them in a box, give them away and regret the moment you decided to make these into muffins and not a pumpkin loaf.

That would have been way cooler.  Regardless, you should give these a try either in muffin or loaf form because they’re delicious, pumpkin-y and it’s November.  Do you really need another reason?