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Jan 20, 2017
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Baked: Brownie Cookies with Early Grey Glaze

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

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I love to pair Earl Grey tea with chocolate. It’s flavored with bergamot, an Italian citrus that tastes somewhere between a lemon and an orange and smells a bit floral. I added bergamot extract and ground Earl Grey tea leaves to the powdered sugar glaze that tops these chewy brownie cookies. The result is a dense, almost fudgy cookie base with a sweet, lightly citrus glaze on top.

 

Brownie Cookies with Earl Grey Glaze
Adapted from a recipe at Smitten Kitchen
1 to 2 dozen cookies, depending on size

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups flour
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup water, plus more to thin the icing
30 g. meringue powder*
½ Tbsp. corn syrup
½ tsp. bergamot extract
1 lb. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. ground Earl Grey tea leaves (from a teabag)

• In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and beat on low speed until well combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and roll the chilled cookie dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on the baking sheet.
• Bake 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are firm and the center is slightly soft and puffed. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
• Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a medium bowl, beat together the water and meringue powder with an electric mixer on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the corn syrup and bergamot and mix 5 seconds. Add the powdered sugar and tea leaves and mix on low speed. The mixture will be very stiff. Add water 1 splash at a time until the frosting has a toothpaste-like consistency.
• Transfer half the icing to a piping bag fitted with a round decorating tip. Carefully outline the cookies with the stiff icing.
• Transfer any icing remaining in the piping bag back to the bowl. Add water 1 teaspoon at a time until the icing reaches a glaze-like consistency. Frost inside the outlines as desired. Let dry for a few hours before enjoying.

*Meringue powder can be found at Kitchen Conservatory.

Baked: Pork Meatballs

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

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I love a good meatball, and this is a great meatball. The meat is tender, tangy and tastes absolutely divine paired with a balsamic vinegar drizzle or doused in some marinara sauce. They’re easy to prepare on the weekend and freeze for easy meals all week long. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Pork Meatballs
Adapted from a recipe at A Pleasant Little Kitchen 
1 dozen

1 lb. ground pork
½ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 Tbsp. dried basil
3 Tbsp. finely grated Parmesan
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. kosher salt
Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, for serving

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, mix the pork, buttermilk, breadcrumbs, egg, basil, Parmesan, garlic and salt together and refrigerate 15 minutes.
• Use your hands to form meatballs about the size of golf balls and place on the baking sheet.
• Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the meatball reaches 160 degrees in the center. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

 

Related Content
• Baked: Beef and Cheddar Hand Pies
• Baked: Broccolini Melt
Baked: Chicken Biryani

Baked: Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

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Pumpkin spice dominates lattes and baked goods right now, but there’s something special about chai spices. Pairing cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger with deep, rich chocolate gives a boost to each bite. The ReTrailer recently cold-brewed its Don’t Chai Know masala chai blend, and the concentrate is the best part: heavily ginger based and infused with all the best masala spices. It’s available at Larder & Cupboard and meant to be blended with milk, but I added it to these super moist chocolate cupcakes for a tangy, spicy kick. It’s the perfect fall dessert. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes
Adapted from a recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 dozen cupcakes

¾ cup chai concentrate*, divided
1 Tbsp. plus a splash heavy cream, divided
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa powder, divided
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
• In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup chai concentrate and 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the chai-cream mixture, flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and the chai-cream mixture and whisk until just combined.
• Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make the frosting by beating the powdered sugar, butter and the remaining ¼ cup chai concentrate, ¼ cup cocoa powder and splash of cream on medium speed until fluffy. The frosting should be thick but spreadable.
• When the cupcakes have cooled, top them liberally with frosting.

* Chai concentrate is available at Larder & Cupboard.

 

More Baked Recipes
Baked: Roasted Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds

Baked: Tropezienne Tarts

Baked: Chocolate Chip-Orange Muffins

• Baked: Chai-Chocolate Chip Scones

 

Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for the person you have to shop for

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

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It’s not easy to shop for people who have everything or about whom you know nothing, but that doesn’t take them off your gift list. From sweets to splurges to simply pretty things, these are elegant and thoughtful choices that will please just about anyone.

 

1. Flowers to the People
A kitchen bouquet is doubly appreciated during this season of entertaining. Request colors and types of flowers if you’d like, or simply tell the florist the occasion and watch as she swiftly spins together something magical as you watch. Each is a unique work of art, making an elegant and lovely-smelling gift. Bonus: The shop delivers. $25. Flowers to the People, 2317 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.762.0422, flowerstothepeople.biz

2. Masala Chai Tea Concentrate
Village Botanicals (formerly The ReTrailer Tea Co.) recently started bottling this wonderfully spiced Extra Special Masala Chai Tea Concentrate, made with cardamom, ginger and a five-spice masala blend of cinnamon, star anise, allspice, clove and peppercorn. $9. Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995; villagebotanicals.com

3. Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan
This pan produces fluffy, crispy, eggy mounds that melt in your mouth, like an inverted waffle. Eat them by the bubble or roll them up like a waffle cone and fill with ice cream. Either way, the topping possibilities are endless. These waffles will liven up Sunday morning breakfast for anyone on your gift list. $45. amazon.com

4. Mila, Sweets Macarons
It’s difficult to resist delicate, colorful, full-flavored cookies that fit perfectly into a chic little box. With flavors like chocolate sea salt or raspberry elderflower, these macarons will give someone a taste of Paris at home. Half dozen: $9. Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop, 2201 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.932.5166, milasweets.com

5. Tasting menu at Elaia
A handful of places around town provide tasting menus, but few have the ambiance and style of Elaia. The quiet Botanical Heights restaurant has wonderful service, and with inventive dishes like tartare of lamb, each of the 10 courses is meant to be savored. It’s a splurge, but you’re giving an experience one will never forget. $120; $220 with wine pairings. Elaia, 1634 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.1088, elaiastl.com

 

More Holiday Gift Guides
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your food snob
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts to stock a starter kitchen
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your boozehound
• Holiday Gifts 2015: The Obligatory Gift

Baked: Roasted Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

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Pumpkins abound this time of year, but there not just for carving and tablescapes. While the flesh can be used for many things, the roasting the leftover seeds are a popular healthy snack. I tried this version on a whim, and they turned out to be rather tasty. It comes together very quickly and makes plenty to share or nosh on all week long. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Roasted Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds
Adapted from a recipe from Honest Cooking
2 cups

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds, cleaned from pulp
2 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
3 tsp. brown sugar
3 tsp. Sriracha
1 tsp. five spice

• Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Spread the pumpkin seeds evenly on the baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, until dry and golden.
• In a large mixing bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, Sriracha and five spice. Add the seeds together until evenly coated.
• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
• Return the seeds to the baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool, then store in an airtight container.

 

Don’t miss more pumpkin recipes
• Vegan Pumpkin Pie
• Pumpkin Spice Sandwich Cookies
• Pumpkin Pie Filling
• Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
• Ginger Squash Stew Served in a Pumpkin
• Pumpkin French Toast
• Pumpkin Buttered Rum

 

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings. 

 

Baked: Tropezienne Tarts

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

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My husband and I recently returned from our honeymoon in the south of France. Tropezienne tarts were one of many French delicacies we indulged in during our travels. These heavenly cream-filled brioche buns originated in St. Tropez, and many flavors exist like the original orange blossom cream.

I made a filling that reminded me of another favorite from the trip: Nutella-strawberry crepes. The bun is fluffy and soft with a crunch from the pearl sugar on top. The filling is luscious and not too sweet. Watch your dough; my buns to rose a little too much on my first try, so they resemble little burgers. Luckily this doesn’t affect the taste – and I adjusted the recipe so you won’t have the same result!

Tropezienne Tarts
8 to 10 servings
Adapted from a recipe at Joe Pastry  

9 oz. flour, divided
2 Tbsp. milk
3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1½ tsp. instant yeast, divided
4 eggs, divided
½ tsp. kosher salt
10½ Tbsp. butter, softened and divided
Pearl sugar, for sprinkling*
6 oz. chocolate hazelnut spread
½ cup heavy whipping cream, plus more if needed
½ cup sliced strawberries

• In a large bowl, stir together 3 ounces flour, the milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon yeast, and 1 egg with a fork until combined. Let rest 1 hour, then refrigerate overnight.
• Transfer the batter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 6 ounces flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1¼ teaspoons yeast and the salt until combined. Pour over the top of the existing dough and let rest 2 to 3 hours, until the dry mix starts to look cracked on top.
• Add 2 cold eggs and mix on medium speed until combined, 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add 8 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon at a time, letting the dough absorb each addition before adding the next tablespoon. When the mixture is combined and the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes, scrape it into a large well-oiled mixing bowl.
• Let rise 2 hours, then cover with plastic wrap, pressing down to push the wrap gently into the dough. Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or overnight.
• Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 equal pieces and place them 1 to 2 inches apart. Use your hands to gently flatten the dough, then let rise 1½ hours.
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• In a small bowl, beat 1 egg. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle with the pearl sugar. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the chocolate hazelnut spread, heavy cream and the remaining 2½ tablespoons butter on high speed until fluffy, adding more cream as needed if the mixture is too stiff.
• Slice the rolls in half and evenly divide the filling among the bottom halves, then top with a few strawberry slices. Replace the top halves and serve.

*Pearl sugar is available at Global Foods

 

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings

Baked: Chocolate Chip-Orange Muffins

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

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I never know what to do with an abundance of buttermilk. I can’t stomach drinking it straight – it tastes too much like spoiled milk to me. But when added to baked goods, buttermilk produces the most delectable crumb, making it perfect for morning muffins. This chocolate chip-orange version is heavenly: light and moist with plenty of chocolate and orange zest to go around. They’re big, puffy and delicate, and they pair perfectly with tea or coffee.

 

Chocolate Chip-Orange Muffins
Adapted from a recipe at Little Sweet Baker 
14 servings

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. orange zest
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. turbinado sugar (or any coarse sugar)

• Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line 2 muffin pans with paper liners.
• In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the buttermilk, granulated sugar, eggs, orange zest and vanilla until combined.
• Use a spatula to gently fold in the melted butter, then fold in the chocolate chips until just combined, scraping from the bottom to make sure there are no streaks of flour in the batter.
• Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups, then sprinkle the turbiando sugar over the tops of each muffin.
• Bake 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops begin to brown and bounce back when touched. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Baked: Chai-Chocolate Chip Scones

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

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Chai and chocolate is an underrated combination. Aromatic spices like cinnamon, cardamom and clove enhance chocolate’s rich flavor. These scones have a crusty, crispy edge and a soft, delicate crumb inside, with a hint of spice at the end of every bite. They’re best on a Sunday morning for family or friends visiting. It’s hard to eat just one.

 

Chai-Chocolate Chip Scones
Adapted from a recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction 
6 scones

2 cups (250 g.) all-purpose flour*, plus more for dusting
2½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, grated or cubed
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. buttermilk, divided
½ cup (100 g.) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. chai spice mix (recipe follows)
1¼ cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. coarse sugar

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
• In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, then use your fingers to rub the butter into the ingredients until the mixture is coarsely combined.
• Add ½ cup buttermilk, sugar, egg, chai spice mix and vanilla extract, then use a spatula or your hand to almost bring the mixture together. Add the chocolate chips and gently mix to combine, taking care not to overwork the dough.
• Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and turn the dough out on it. Use your hands to forma 6-inch disk, then use a sharp knife to divide into 6 equal wedges.
• Place scones on the baking sheet with room between them to spread. Brush the scones with the remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with the coarse sugar.
• Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

*For the best texture, I recommend weighing the flour. 

 

Chai Spice Mix

In a small bowl, combine ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon, 1¼ teaspoons ground cardamom, ¾ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground allspice, ½ teaspoon ground cloves and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Store covered in an airtight container.

 

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings

Baked: Oatmeal-Flaxseed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

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It’s hard to make a chocolate chip cookie healthy, but this recipe comes close. I stumbled across versions of this while searching for a lactation cookie recipe for a friend. Lactation cookies are meant to help nursing mothers increase milk production through the addition of brewer’s yeast. This chocolate chip cookie recipe omits the yeast, but it does add old-fashioned oats and flaxseed, providing a healthy dose of fiber for anyone. If you do add brewer’s yeast, you’ll find provides a slightly bitter, umami note that pairs well with chocolate. With or without yeast, it’s difficult for anyone to stop eating these chewy sweet treats. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Oatmeal-Flaxseed Chocolate Chip Cookies
About 2 dozen

¾ cup (1½ sticks) room-temperature butter
4 Tbsp. coconut oil
1¼ cups sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1¼ cups chocolate chips

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
• In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, coconut oil and sugar on high speed until the mixture is fluffy and light, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined.
• Use a rubber spatula to mix in the oats, flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until there are no streaks of flour left and a thick dough forms. Fold in the chocolate chips.
• Use a spoon or your hands to scoop about 2 tablespoons dough. Roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used, leaving some space between the dough in case the cookies spread.
• Bake 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges are golden. Let cool completely before removing them from the pan.

*To make lactation cookies, add 1/3 cup brewer’s yeast when mixing in the dry ingredients.

Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings

Baked: Beef and Cheddar Hand Pies

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

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I made these hand pies for fun one day, when I wanted to bring something tasty to a picnic but without the fuss of plates and utensils. Working with pie dough can sometimes be frustrating, it’s worth it. The end result is a buttery, flaky crust with a savory, meaty filling on the inside. Since the filling is precooked, you can sample and adjust it to your preferences. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Beef and Cheddar Hand Pies
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
4 servings

½ lb. 80-20 ground beef
½ white onion, thinly sliced
½ Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper or red chili flakes to taste
1½ cups shredded cheddar
1 batch pie dough, thawed (Recipe here.)
Flour, for dusting
1 large egg, lightly beaten

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the beef with onions and garlic, breaking up the meat until it begins to brown and the onion soften, 7 to 10 minutes. Drain some of the fat from the skillet.
• Stir in the Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stir in the cheese and set aside.
• Sprinkle a large flat work surface with flour and roll out the pie dough to ¼-inch thick. Use a 4½-inch round cookie cutter to cut 16 circles from the dough, rolling the dough out as needed.
• Place 8 dough circles onto the baking sheet. Place 1½ tablespoons beef filling in the middle of the circles, leaving a ½ inch of dough clear around the edges. Cover each with the remaining 8 dough circles, pressing around the edges of each with a fork to seal. Use the fork to poke a few holes in the top of each hand pie to vent.
• Brush the beaten egg over the tops of each hand pie.
• Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are browned. Let cool a few minutes before eating.

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