Beach Town Baking

Nutella Pop Tarts

NUTELLA POP TARTS (1)

Anyone who grew up eating pop tarts (like me) will love this recipe for home made ones. They are really easy to make and while I chose Nutella to fill them with, you can play around with different fillings.

The dough is super flaky and light and when paired with creamy Nutella it’s blow your mind delicious.

The recipe yields about 8 Nutella Pop Tarts. I like to keep a few of these in the freezer so I don’t eat them all at once.

 

NUTELLA POP TARTS (2) NUTELLA POP TARTS (3)

 

Enjoy!

 

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Nutella Pop Tarts

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (cold and cubed)
  • 2 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 Large egg (separated)
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • powdered sugar (for garnish)

Directions

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar and salt on low speed and slowly add the butter pieces. Increase speed to medium and continue until butter breaks down to pea size. Whisk the ice water and yolk together and add all at once to mixer. Mix on low speed just until dough starts to come together. Form dough into two discs and wrap each in plastic. Let chill in refrigerator for one hour.
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Set aside another piece of parchment paper of the same size.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disc of dough into a 13x11-inch rectangle. Trim down to 12x10-inches with a sharp knife and then cut out eight 5x3-inch rectangles. Place onto prepared sheet tray and cover with the extra parchment sheet. Repeat this step with the remaining disc of dough, placing the pieces on the top parchment. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.
Remove cutouts from refrigerator and slide off top parchment. These are the tops of the pop tarts.
Poke some holes into the bottom cutouts with a fork. Whisk the egg white and moisten the edges. Spread a tablespoon of Nutella down the center of each rectangle. Lay a top cutout over the filling and press down edges to seal. Use a fork to double seal the edges. Place sheet tray in freezer for one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Garnish with powdered sugar.

Broiled Grapefruit with Tarragon and Brown Sugar

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT WITH BROWN SUGAR AND TARRAGON (3)

 

Grapefruit season is in full swing, and lately I’ve been enjoying them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Broiling grapefruit is a nice way to change things up a bit. The heat brings out the fruit’s natural juices and simultaneously melts the brown sugar, allowing the sweetness to seep into the tangy fruit. It’ s pretty delicious and you’ll be quite surprised at how well licorice flavor of tarragon pairs with it all.

Simply slice a grapefruit in half and set each halve on a foil-lined tray. Combine the brown sugar, a little balsamic and some torn tarragon leaves in a small bowl and then smear the mixture on top of the each halve. Broil for a few minutes and serve warm.

BROILED GRAPEFRUIT WITH BROWN SUGAR AND TARRAGON (1)

 Enjoy!

 

beach town baking

Broiled Grapefruit with Tarragon and Brown Sugar

Ingredients

  • 2 pink grapefruits (halved)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 10 tarragon leaves (torn into small pieces)

Directions

Turn broiler on high. Place each grapefruit halve on a foil-lined sheet tray.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Spread the mixture onto the grapefruit halves
Broil for 3 minutes or until sugar has melted. Serve warm.

Fast Homemade Vegetable Stock, by Doug

Hi Everyone! I want to introduce you to Doug, ‘The Kitchen Professor’, who writes a wonderful blog of the same name. He is an expert on antique cast iron cooking among other things related to food, recipes and the kitchen! I’m thrilled to have him as a guest blogger this month. He has decided to share with all of you his fast homemade vegetable stock. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

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And now….Doug!

 

I am always out of vegetable stock when I need it. After you read this post, you will be liberated from store bought stock. The great thing about making vegetable stock is that it is so quick and simple to do. However, if you’re anything like me, when you hear “vegetable stock” you picture a can or even a little bullion cube.

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Here are the ingredients for a basic stock:

  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium yellow or sweet onion
  • 4 baby bella mushrooms (regular, button mushrooms are fine.)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 carrots, no need to peel
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika (Non smoked is just as good.)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 quarts of cool water
  • Optional: Kosher Salt to flavor
  • Optional: Other vegetable scraps if you have them.*

 

If you are watching your salt intake, then you can skip the salt altogether.

 

One great kitchen hack for vegetable broth is to save your vegetable cuttings through a week or two. Put them in a zip top freezer bag (a 1 quart size is perfect) each day, squeeze most of the air out, and toss it in the freezer. When you have a full quart or so, you can make your broth.

 

Here are some other veggies that go well in a stock:

  • red, yellow, orange, and green bell peppers
  • fennel
  • fresh herbs of all types especially thyme, parsley, rosemary, and sage

 

Here is the hardware:

 

  • Cutting board
  • A Chef’s knife (see my favorite chef’s knives)
  • Large stock pot, 4 quarts is just right. Go larger if you don’t have a 4 quart pot.
  • A strainer or colander.

 

Here is what to do:

 

  1. Make sure to rinse all your produce. It isn’t critical to dry it off very well. From a safety standpoint, just make sure it isn’t slippery while you are cutting. And, make sure your knife is well sharpened.
  2. Coarsely chop the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. The exact size isn’t too important.
  3. Add the oil olive, all the veggies, bay leaf, paprika, salt, and black pepper to a large stock pot.
  4. Heat to medium and allow the veggies to sweat for about 8 minutes. Stir it occasionally. This step will add some complexity to the dish.
  5. Add the water to veggies in the stock pot and cover.
  6. Heat at high until the stock boils
  7. Reduce the heat to low/simmer.
  8. Simmer for 15 minutes, up to an hour if you have the time.
  9. Strain the stock through the colander or strainer. Here is my lazy method: just ladle the liquid through the strainer, while holding the strainer over the pot.
  10. Use the stock right away. Or, let it cool, off the heat, of course, for about an hour.
  11. I move the liquid over to an airtight container, like a couple of canning jars.
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Conclusion

Making homemade vegetable stock is easy. You’ll never find yourself panicked when you realize that you’re out of vegetable stock.

 

A couple other advantages are:

  • You can control exactly what is in your stock so you can avoid sodium or preservatives if that is important to you.
  • You can save money since canned vegetable broths is mostly water.
  • You can use your veggie scraps in a smart way.

 

If you have any tips for making stock or if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.

 

Bio

Doug isn’t really a professor at all, but he geeks out in the kitchen. He can barely follow a recipe and uses them as guidelines. Doug blogs about knives and keeping them sharp to cutting boards to cooking in antique cast iron. Check out more at The Kitchen Professor!

Sauteed Kale

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Happy 2016!

If you’re like me, you’ve made a resolution to eat healthier this year. Who knows how long that will last, but for the moment I’m going to try.

Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, kale is a superfood that should be a staple in your diet. It’s a budget friendly vegetable, too. For suppers, I like to saute kale as it’s quick to prepare and it pairs well with many different proteins. In addition to garlic, salt and pepper, I like to season kale with dried basil which pairs really well with the green, leafy vegetable. Try out my recipe and you’ll see!

Enjoy!

beach town baking

Sauteed Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 bunch kale (washed and de-stemmed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Small chop/ chiffonade the kale leaves and add them to the pan. Cover with lid and cook for 1 minute undisturbed. Remove lid and stir. Cover with lid and cook for 1 minute. Remove lid and stir as leaves wilt.
Stir in the dried basil, salt and pepper. Continue cooking over low to medium heat for another minute. Stir in the stock. Let cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the red wine vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Cover. Remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Best Pancake Recipe

bananasfosterpancakes (6)

It’s Christmas morning and excitement is in the air.

But wait, somebody has to make breakfast.

It has to be quick, easy and delicious.

What about pancakes?

Too hard, you say?

Oh no, not at all.

I developed these pancakes for my second book, Beach House Brunch, which comes out in June (yippee!). They are great with a banana rum sauce (see pic) but on a regular basis I enjoy them with butter, maple syrup and fresh fruit.

The batter comes together easily and you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry already. Many pancake recipes call for separating the egg whites from the yolks and then folding in the whites at the very end. I’ve found that to be an unnecessary step with this recipe. These pancakes turn out light, fluffy and delicious every time. You will soon discover why I call this the best pancake recipe.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Best Pancake Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, water and melted butter. Add the dry ingredients and briskly fold in with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Lumps are okay.
Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle. Cook for a couple minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake. Flip over and cook for another minute.
Repeat with remaining batter. Keep pancakes warm wrapped in foil.

Honey Oat Bran Muffin Recipe for you!

honey oat bran muffins

Happy Halloween evening ya’ll. I’m currently in the final editing stage of my second book Beach House Brunch. It has been a busy, busy summer of developing and testing 100 recipes for my book and I’m exhausted!

The last recipe to make the cut was this one for Honey Oat Bran Muffins. I actually started developing it a couple months ago but it pretty much came down to the wire before I was satisfied with the outcome – moist, delicious, healthy and easy to make. I’m relieved I was able to perfect it before the deadline and I’m thrilled to be able to share this Honey Oat Bran Muffin recipe with you.

Enjoy!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

 

Honey Oat Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 2 Large egg whites
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
Make Honey sauce:
In a small pot, warm all the ingredients over medium heat and stir until sugars dissolve. Add 2 teaspoons of the honey sauce to each muffin cup. Set aside.
Make Muffins:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oat bran, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and raisins. Make a well in the center and add the egg whites, milk, water, molasses and oil. Whisk until combined.

Use a large ice cream scoop or ladle to portion the batter to just below the rim of each muffin cup. While portioning, stir the muffin batter in the bowl occasionally to evenly distribute the raisins. Bake muffins for 18 minutes or until centers are firm when pressed. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before inverting onto a foil-lined sheet tray. Let muffins cool for 10 minutes. Place them in muffin liners for serving.
Sidenote: You can bake these cupcakes in muffin liners if you prefer a quick cleanup. You will just need to bake the muffins in the oven for about 5 minutes longer.

Beyond Cheesecake

Every now and then a weird idea turns into something delicious.

A lovely lady shared with me her sister’s recipe for Chess Pie, something I had always heard of but never tried. I went home and made the pie that evening only to be stricken by sugar overload with every bite. However, I did enjoy the flavor and texture very much and knew this was a recipe to be kept. As I came down from my sugar high I had a thought that perhaps a creamy cheesecake top layer would help to tone down the sugar and complement the custardy lemon filling of Chess Pie. So I gave it try the next day making a graham cracker crust and modifying the Chess Pie recipe with less sugar and less yield. After baking the filling in the crust, I let it cool for 10 minutes and then added a thin layer of cheesecake batter on top and let it bake slowly in a water bath. The next day after letting it setting overnight I was treated to the most delicious treat that went beyond cheesecake. It was a creamy cheesecake with a surprising lemon bar-ish bottom layer and crust. Please, please try out this recipe. You will not be disappointed!

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Beyond Cheesecake awaits you!

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Beyond Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3oz unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 8oz cream cheese (soft at room temp)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment.
Combine graham crumbs and sugar in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter and press into a 9-inch round cake pan. Let chill in refrigerator.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Add in the remaining ingredients until combined and pour into crust. Bake for 25 minutes.
In a KitchenAid bowl with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the sugar on low speed, followed by the eggs, one at a time, and the sour cream and vanilla.
Remove chess pie from oven and let rest 10 minutes in refrigerator. Place a water bath in the oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.

Carefully pour cheesecake batter over lemon layer. Bake in the water bath for 80 minutes. Let set up overnight in refrigerator. Next day flip out cheesecake and serve.

beach town baking

Sweet Deal for Beach House Baking

 

Hi everyone! Just wanted to share a super sweet deal that’s running on Amazon. For a limited time, you can purchase the Kindle ebook edition of my book Beach House Baking for only $1.99! Click here to check it out. If you do make a purchase, please take a few minutes to write a review on Amazon. Thanks and Happy Baking!

 

Beach House Baking_FINAL

Basil and Mint Mojito

 

BASIL AND MINT MOJITO

photo 2 (9)

Nothing is more welcoming on a summer day than an ice cold beverage to quiet the heat. One of my favorite summertime beverages is the mojito, a Cuban beverage made with rum and mint.

I happened to have some leftover basil from a batch of recipe testing I did for my second book (Beach House Brunch which comes out next year) so I decided to try and replace some of the mint in my mojito with the basil. Lo and behold, it worked out wonderfully!  The basil paired perfectly with the mint while mellowing out its intensity and also created a beautiful chartreuse hue. Gorgeous and delicious!

 

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Enjoy!

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Basil and Mint Mojito

Ingredients

  • 1 lime (quartered)
  • 6 basil leaves (torn)
  • 6 mint leaves (torn)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cups white rum
  • extrabasil and mint leaves (for garnish)
  • 3/4 cups club soda

Directions

Add lime quarters, basil and mint leaves and sugar to shaker. Muddle them together to squeeze out the lime juice. Add the rum and shake well.
Fill two glasses with ice and some mint and basil leaves. Pour rum mixture evenly into the two glasses. Divide club soda evenly into the two glasses. Garnish with some more leaves.

Roasted Strawberry Jam

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Hello my Friends! I must apologize because I have been a total blog slacker these days. The thing is, I got a second book deal (yippee!) and I’ve been developing recipes for Beach House Brunch like a mad woman. It’s going to be released May 2016, but of course that means I only have a few months to write it before it goes through final recipe tests, photographed, edited, designed and sent off to get printed overseas.

No pressure, right? Geez Louise.

Anyhow, enough with the excuses.

Here in southern California, freshly picked strawberries are just starting to make their appearance. While their taste isn’t anything to rave about just yet, they are still the first of the season so that in itself is pretty exciting. One way to brighten up their flavor is to slowly roast them with some sugar. The result? A delicious roasted strawberry jam that will blow your mind. The strawberries cook in their own juices and turn into a sweet jam that I love to serve with everything from pancakes to scones to biscuits.

In addition to sugar, I like to roast strawberries with balsamic vinegar, Cointreau and black pepper. The balsamic adds a nice acidic touch while the pepper provides a lingering heat on your palate. And while the Cointreau can be an optional ingredient, it is quite complementary to strawberry.

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Enjoy!

beach town baking

 

 

 

 

Roasted Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 1lb strawberries (hulled and halved)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cointreau
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until juices thicken and fruit cooks down. Stir every 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on counter. When completely cool, stir to break up larger chunks of strawberry and store in a container in refrigerator.
Enjoy on toast, scones or biscuits!

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