4/18/14

Lemon Lime Sprig Cookie






What are you having for dessert with your Easter dinner? 
Do not say jelly beans. Or Cadbury eggs. 
You had those for breakfast. And lunch.
Have you made ABK's  (Almost) Swig Cookies? Or my chocolate version of the Almost Swig, The "Swagg Cookie" ? If so, you are an old pro at making this type of cookie.
Last week, my SIL, Diane asked me about a dessert suggestion for a dinner she was having with a Mexican-theme menu.  I suggested she try adding some lime or lemon to the Swig recipe for a sweet that would compliment her meal. Then I experimented at home. I tried putting lemon and lime in the frosting, but didn't love the way the frosting looked with flecks of green. So I grated a bit of lime zest  in the cookie dough, then made a  fresh lemon-sour cream frosting to top off the cookie.


Make sure to use fresh lemon juice in the frosting. The difference between bottled lemon juice and fresh squeezed in this recipe is kind of like the difference between a can of orange flavored juice and a glass of fresh squeezed OJ.
I know you're going to love this cookie.
Taste tester comments ranged from "OMG WHAT IS IN THAT COOKIE??!!!!!!" to "Best cookie I've ever eaten".
Get busy.
Happy Easter weekend, friends. 



Lemon Lime Sprig Cookie
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

dough:
1/2 cup butter
!/2 cup shortening ( I use butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup sour cream
zest from one to two limes, grated fine
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
sugar  for top of cookies

frosting:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoon sour cream
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one lemon, grated fine
dash of salt
1 drop lemon food coloring
1-2 tablespoons milk**

Preheat oven to 325 convection or 350 regular bake.
Take butter out of refrigerator and microwave for about 15 seconds. Place butter, shortening, cold sour cream and lime zest in a mixing bowl. Mix for about one minute. Add sugar and vanilla, mix until smooth. Add all dry ingredients at once. Mix just until flour disappears and the mixture comes together in a ball of dough, about 1-2 minutes on very low speed. 
Spray the cookie scoop with a little cooking spray. Scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet. I use either a 1 3/4 inch or a 2 inch scoop. A two inch scoop will produce a cookie similar in size to the Swig cookie. If you don't have a cookie scoop, roll the dough into a ball about the size of a golf ball. 
Place about 1/4 cup sugar into a small bowl. 
Flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar (press the bottom of the glass against the cookie first, then dip it in the sugar so the sugar will stick) . Press the cookies so they are flattened a bit, twisting the glass as you press to produce a jagged edge. 
Bake in oven for about 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and cookies are slightly firm to the touch. Remove from oven, let cool. Place the cookies in the fridge and chill. 
Prepare the frosting:
Beat together the butter, sour cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice, zest and salt. When all ingredients are incorporated, add the drop of food coloring and milk if the frosting needs to be thinned. 
Frost after the cookies are completely chilled. 
Makes about 18  large cookies.

Tips:
-If you want the cookies to taste more like the Swig cookies make this adjustment to the dough:
 omit the almond flavoring and reduce the sugar to 1 cup. I prefer the cookies to be a bit sweeter, so I liked 1 1/2 cup of sugar in the dough.
-I use a microplane grater to grate the zest.
-The Swig cookie is frosted with quite a thin layer of frosting. I prefer my frosting to be a bit thicker. If you want to frost the cookie with a thinner frosting, add about 3-4 tablespoons of milk to the frosting.
-This cookie stays quite well in the fridge for two weeks  if kept in an air tight container. I almost always have a cookie sheet filled with these in my fridge for emergencies :)  They taste as good after two weeks as they do on the day they are made.





4/16/14

ABK's Classic Deviled Eggs




What's an Easter feast without a deviled egg?
Everyone loves deviled eggs, especially on Easter Sunday.
Here are a few secrets I've gathered from trial and error about making classic deviled eggs.
Rule #1 Don't overcook the egg. Follow the method below for perfect boiled eggs.
Grate, instead of smash the yolks with a fork. You'll get a smoother filling overall.
Don't add too much mayo, or the filling won't set up and the end result will be a not-so-pretty egg.





Fill the egg with a bag. Use a decorating tip, the same as if decorating a cake. Your eggs will look like they were filled by a professional, vs a 3 year old.

This photo sequence was taken by Grant, who is currently working on his
food photography skills. Bless his heart.

Even though this recipe looks complicated, it's not. I added lots of tips to make it easier for you. Because I love you.
And I want your deviled eggs to stand up to the scrutiny of your mother in law.
It doesn't get more simple than this:
One bowl.
One beater.
One bag.
One tip for the bag.
Get busy.






ABK's Classic Deviled Eggs
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

one dozen large eggs, preferably a few days old
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayo ( not low fat) I like Best Foods or Hellman's
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
salt and white pepper to taste
paprika, for top of eggs, optional
pastry or plastic bag and 1 large star tip

Carefully place the eggs in a pan large enough to hold all of the eggs. Cover with cold water about 2 inches above the eggs. Heat over medium high heat until the water boils. Boil for about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat, cover and let sit for 10-12 minutes. Rinse eggs with cold water, until eggs are cool enough to handle.  Drain water, crack the eggs and remove all shells. Discard shells. Unless you are Martha, and are making a craft for a centerpiece out of egg shells.
After peeling, cut the eggs in half with a sharp knife.
Gently scoop out the yolk into a deep bowl. You will want a large, deep bowl so when the yolks are beaten, they don't spill over the edge of the bowl.
Place the whites on a platter, or dish to transport the eggs (see below).
After all of the yolks have been removed, gently grate the egg yolks against the grate on a box grater. Add 1/2 cup of mayo, 2 teaspoons mustard, salt and pepper to the yolks. On low speed, beat the yolks just until smooth. If the yolks are not creamy enough, add additional mayo a little at a time, until the mixture will adhere to a spoon, but not fall off the spoon if turned upside down. If the mixture is too runny, it will not sit up well in the egg white. Taste the filling and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Fit the end of the plastic bag with a star tip. Cut the end of the plastic bag off, so the end of the tip is exposed. Roll the end of the bag to the outside, so the inside of the bag is exposed as much as possible, making the bag easier to fill. Use a large spoon and fill the bag with the egg yolk mixture, Spooning the filling into the bottom of the bag. When finished, unroll the edges of the bag and fold the bag down and let any extra air out of the bag, so the filling is ready to be squeezed out of the bottom of the bag.
Using a swirling motion, fill the eggs with the yolk mixture. Repeat until all of the filling is gone. Sometimes, I have an extra white, or two.
Sprinkle with paprika if you like.
Serve or refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving.

Tips, aka everything you ever wanted to know about deviled eggs, but were afraid to ask:
-For easiest peeling, it is best to use eggs that are a few days old.
-The size of the egg will determine if you use 1/2 or 3/4 cup of mayo, or possibly a tablespoon or two more than 3/4 cup. If you are purchasing extra large Costco type eggs, the eggs (and yolks) are usually much bigger than the extra large eggs purchased at the corner grocery.
-Grating the yolks, instead of smashing with a fork will give your deviled eggs a very smooth filling. I also used a beater to mix the ingredients after grating. Don't over mix, just enough to incorporate and get an even filling.
-Filling options. The options are endless. I'm into simplicity. My favorite egg salad sandwich has just mayo, egg and salt. So I love this recipe. You can add hot pepper sauce, vinegar, flavored mustard, sweet relish, chopped up anything, and lots of garnishes to top the egg. Just make sure it doesn't get too wet, or it won't sit up pretty when you go to fill the whites. And be sure the filling (chunks of desired filling) will still squeeze out of your pastry bag and tip .
-Where's the vinegar? Most recipes call for vinegar. I'm not a fan, so I leave it out. The mustard gives the filling a nice little bit of tart flavor, and I like the simplicity of yolk and mayo.
-Do not use a serrated edge knife to cut the eggs in half, or your eggs will not have a smooth edge when filled.
-White pepper is recommended, but black pepper is fine as well.
-When filling, use a disposable plastic pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip. I used a large star tip. Slide the tip into the bottom of the bag before filling, then snip off the end of the plastic bag. A Ziploc bag
works if you don't have or want to purchase pastry bags. Pastry bags and tips can be purchased at grocery, craft or kitchen specialty stores. I like the disposables, because they are easily tossed after using. They usually come in packages of 12. The tips are $1-2 each and may be used over and over.
-When transporting the eggs, use a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of a dish. It will keep your eggs from sliding around. I put mine in a 9x13 plastic ware dish and snapped the lid on. See photo below.
-You can make this recipe the day before serving and hold them in the fridge. Just remove from fridge and serve when ready. They will look and taste the same the day after preparing.
-You've now earned one credit toward your Master Deviled Egg Chef degree. Congrats.

Eggs ready to transport without the slippery slide problem...



4/14/14

Orzo Salad with Fresh Lemon and Chive Dressing





I love Orzo pasta salads. There are so many combination possibilities with Orzo.  In my latest Orzo creation, I chose veggies that I love and paired them with a fresh lemon and chive dressing to feature the flavors of Spring.
I'll be making this for our family Easter dinner next Sunday. Total time to make this salad, less than 30 minutes. If you're looking for something fresh, simple and a little out of the ordinary, it's staring you in the face.
Not me, the salad.




Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Fresh Lemon-Chive Dressing
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

for salad:
1 lb orzo
1 lb fresh asparagus
1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped chives, divided (half for dressing, half for garnish)
1 lemon rind, grated fine, using a microplane grater
sliced lemon, for garnish

for dressing:
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper


Cook the orzo according to package directions, set aside. This may be done up to three days before serving salad.
Wash and snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Cut into one inch pieces on the diagonal. Place about 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan. Put the asparagus in the pan, heat until water boils. Cover and cook for one minute. Remove from heat. Asparagus should be bright green. Drain off hot water and pour cool water into the pan. Drain again and place asparagus in the bowl with the cooked orzo. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl with the orzo and asparagus. Add one half cup of the chopped chives and the grated lemon rind.
In a large measuring cup, Mix all of the dressing ingredients with a whisk,  or place in a blender, or use an immersion blender and pulse until ingredients are blended well.
When ready to assemble, toss all of the salad ingredients. Pour about 3/4 cup of the dressing over the salad. Toss. Let the salad sit a bit before placing in serving bowl or platter.  Just before serving, toss with additional dressing if needed. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of chives and lemon slices.
Serves 12 as a side dish

Tips:
-Try to assemble and serve the salad on the same day. The pasta may be cooked ahead, but the asparagus is best when tossed with the dressing on the same day.
-You will have leftover dressing. Don't be tempted to drown the salad in dressing. Use the leftover dressing on a green salad, or chopped avocado and tomatoes. This dressing would also make a great marinade for grilled chicken.

4/11/14

Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast



Easter is just around the corner. In our home, we love to celebrate with a family gathering. No matter the time of day when the meal is served, we make brunch dishes, along with the traditional ham, rolls, salads and of course, desserts. 
I love this recipe for Blueberry Stuffed French Toast.  It can be made for two, or twenty. Most stuffed french toast recipes are made the night before, layered in a dish,  set in the fridge, and baked the following morning.  I wanted to create a dish that mimics an overnight french toast, but takes only a few minutes to create before serving. Most of the overnight stuffed french toast dishes serve 8-10, this one is perfect if it's just you and your sweetie, or great for a crowd as well. Everyone can join in and help assemble, and the bread can be cooked to order. I used blueberries, but strawberries, blackberries and/or raspberries would be delicious as well. 
Come back soon, I'll be posting dishes for Easter for the next several days! 





Blueberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

6 Thick Slices bread, preferably Texas Toast or French Bread about ¾ inch thick
4 large eggs
⅓ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

for filling:
4 oz cream cheese, softened (room temperature)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh blueberries

2 tablespoons butter, for cooking

Mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with whisk until smooth.

Beat the eggs, milk and vanilla in a bowl until mixed well. Pour into a shallow dish that will allow for dipping of bread completely ( a square pan works well).

Spread about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture on one side of each piece of bread. Make sure to spread evenly and all the way to the edge of the bread. Sprinkle a few blueberries on top of the cream cheese mixture on three of the slices of bread. Make a sandwich with the bread slices. The “sandwich” should have the following:

one slice of bread with cream cheese mixture
one slice of bread with cream cheese mixture and a few blueberries sprinkled on top
Melt some butter in a pan, preferably a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture.

Place the sandwich into the pan with the melted butter and fry for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden browned. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove and serve immediately or keep on plate in oven until all pieces are cooked and ready to serve.

Place on plates and sprinkle with additional remaining berries. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and serve with jam or syrup. Serves 2-3

4/5/14






Have you ever eaten a pancake made with sour cream? There's a little breakfast/lunch spot in Salt Lake called Penny Ann's Cafe, and they serve the most delicious sour cream cakes! Sometimes, I daydream about those pancakes. They're that good.






This morning, I was thinking about those light, slightly tangy, melt in your mouth cakes. I was getting ready to watch General Conference on TV, and didn't have time to run in to SLC and wait in line for pancakes, so instead, I dug up a recipe in a cookbook I've had for years. A few minutes later, we were flipping cakes and smothering them with butter, syrup and fresh strawberries.
I know you're going to love these too.
Happy cooking!



Sour Cream Pancakes
adapted from the Jr League Centennial Cookbook
print recipe

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

Combine all wet ingredients in a medium size bowl. Mix with whisk until blended.
Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix once with a large spoon or whisk, do not over mix, mix just until the ingredients are incorporated, there should be a few lumps in the batter.
Heat the griddle to about 350 degrees. Melt butter onto griddle.
Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop out batter and spread a bit with the edge of the cup. The pancake should be approximately 4-5 inches across.
Let the pancake cook until several bubbles appear and then pop. Turn the pancake gently, and let cook for an additional 3 minutes on opposite side. Do not pat down. Do not flip more than once.
The pancake is done when poked gently in the middle and the cake springs back.
Serve immediately with fresh fruit, syrup, butter and (or) powdered sugar.