Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012

Many of our favorite recipes found their way onto the dinner table this week, and the only new dinner recipe I tried was a complete failure.  We typically have soup once a week, and I had a new one to try that looked great on paper.  It turned out to be similar to a dress that looks fantastic on the hanger, but terrible when you try it on. The soup had basic ingredients, nothing out of the ordinary.  When we ate it, though, there was just something off about it - the texture, the flavors, definitely not worth a second bowl and certainly not worth sharing with you!

Remember those cookies I mentioned last week that were too much work to share?  Well, I made them for book club this week and all the ladies were raving about them.  So because both my kids and my gals loved them I suppose I should share the recipe.  The reason they are a lot of work  is because you have to make a recipe of cornflake crunch first, and let them cool completely.  Then, once you make the dough, you have to place it in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  However, one really nice thing about these cookies is that the dough freezes great.  The day of book club I just placed a few dough balls onto a tray straight from the freezer.  From that perspective they can be quite easy!

Thanksgiving is around the corner...holy moly!  Given that we only had one keeper this week, I do want to share two of my favorite holiday recipes - perhaps you might even incorporate them into your repertoire for future family gatherings.  The turkey brine is a recipe from my mother, and the traditional bread stuffing recipe if from my mother-in-law.  When we stay in town for Thanksgiving or Christmas we always make these two recipes; I have never made turkey or homemade stuffing any other way.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we are off to visit family, so I can safely say that I will not be posting next Friday.  Enjoy Thanksgiving and I will be back on November 30 - the last day of the month;  I can hardly wrap my head around that idea!

Gobble, gobble!

New Recipes
Everything Cookies

Tried and True
Turkey Brine
Traditional Stuffing

Everything Cookies

Ingredients for Cornflake Crunch 
• 5 cups cornflakes
• 1/2 cup dry milk powder or malted milk
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 9 tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for Cookies
• 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) room-temp butter
• 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
• 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
• 1 egg
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 3 cups Cornflake Crunch
• 1/2 cup chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup M&Ms
• 1 1/4 cups mini marshmallows 

Directions for Cornflake Crunch 
1. Heat oven to 275 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, using your hands, crunch the cornflakes into small pieces. Combine milk powder, sugar, and salt with the cornflakes. Add the butter and toss so the cornflakes are coated. 
3. Spread the cornflake clusters on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat and bake for about 20 minutes until they are a bit crunchy. Let cool completely before using in the cookies.  
This can also be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container. 

Directions for Cookies 
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and both sugars and cream for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the side of the bowl and add the egg and vanilla. Continue mixing for about 7 minutes.
2. Bring the speed of the mixer to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for about 1 minute, making sure not to over-mix. 
3. Continue on a low speed and add the cornflake crunch and chocolate chips, about 45 seconds. 
4. Briefly mix to incorporate the marshmallows. 
5. Place the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 7 days.
6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 and line a cookie tray with parchment.  Form the dough into 1.5 oz cookie dough balls.  Bake for about 11 minutes.  Let the cookies cool completely on the parchment lined cookie tray.
7. If freezing, freeze the dough balls, and then put the frozen dough into a zip top bag or other freezer container.  To bake frozen cookie dough, simply bake for 12 minutes, right from the freezer.  No need to thaw the dough. 

These are adapted from a cookie recipe I found in a dessert cookbook called Momofuku Milk Bar.  I made these after Halloween so I tossed in some M&Ms.  There were already so many things mixed into the cookie dough that I figured why not.  I made the dough and then scooped them into 1.5 oz cookie balls and froze them.  Once the cookies were frozen, I popped them into a container, and now am able to make just a few at a time.  12 minutes in a 375 degree oven works well for me!  I have listed the ingredients below if you want the metric measurements.  The cookbook really stresses metric measurements, but lists both.  Since most home cooks use our standard measurements, I listed those in the recipe above.  I am a big fan of my scale, so I did use the more precise metric measurements.

Ingredients for Cornflake Crunch
• 170 grams cornflakes
• 40 grams dry milk powder or malted milk
• 40 grams  sugar
• 4 grams salt
• 130 grams tablespoons butter, melted

Ingredients for Cookies
• 225 grams room-temp butter
• 250 grams granulated sugar
• 150 grams light brown sugar, packed
• 1 egg
• 2 grams vanilla extract
• 240 grams flour
• 2 grams baking powder
• 1.5 grams baking soda
• 5 grams salt
• 270 grams Cornflake Crunch
• 75 grams chocolate chips
• 75 grams M&Ms
• 65 grams mini marshmallows 

Traditional Thanksgiving Stuffing

* 10-12 cups of bread cubes from whatever mix of bread you prefer
* 2 cups celery, chopped
* 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
* 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
* 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
* 1 cup butter
* 1 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp pepper
* 1-2 cups chicken broth

1. Toast the bread cubes in the oven at 300 degrees until crisp.  Once crisp, place the bread into a very large pan.
2. Saute the celery and onion in the butter.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Pour this vegetable mixture over the bread cubes, and then add the parsely, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Mix gently to combine.
3. Stir in enough chicken broth until you reach your desired consistency.
4. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about one hour or until heated through.

As written, this will prepare about 8 cups of stuffing. I leave this uncovered while baking because the really toasty parts are, in my opinion, the best part of the stuffing.  If you want it a bit softer, feel free to cover with foil while baking.

Turkey Brine

* 1 cup kosher salt
* 1 lemon, wedged
* 1 orange, wedged
* 1 onion, wedged
* 3 cloves of garlic, minced
* 4 bay leaves
* 1 tbsp dried thyme
* 1 tbsp black pepper
* 1 1/2 gallons cold water

1. Rub the salt all over your turkey.  Place the remaining ingredients into a large pot.
2. Place the turkey in the pot.  Cover with additional water if needed.  The turkey should be fully submerged.
3. Refrigerate the turkey in the brine overnight.
4. In the morning, remove the turkey from the brine and place it on the rack in the pan that will be used for cooking.  Place the turkey, uncovered, in the fridge until it is ready to be cooked.
5. Cook at the appropriate temperature and for the length of time indicated for the size turkey you are making.

Leaving the turkey uncovered will allow the skin to dry out a bit and will help it crisp in the oven later when it is cooking.  This really does make a delicious turkey!  You could even try this with a whole chicken at some other time of year.