Ginger Snappies

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

Aaaaaaand we’re back! Less than three weeks until my college graduation. And WHAT a long time it’s been since the magic of baking has occurred in this apartment. I’m in the midst of writing final essays, doing last film projects, wrapping up boxes and friendships and whatnot. But this morning, that white crinkled paper bag of all-purpose flour called to me from the cabinet as I reached for my daily handful of almonds from the adjacent one. “Boo to you, FoodGirl, for forgetting me!” he shouted, crouching down in helpless rage and glaring with his bleached eyes through the darkness, past the sugar, the baking soda, the chocolate chips. I sighed. “Forgive me. Let’s start over. Let’s just pretend this whole situation never even happened, ok?” I reached in, the palm of my hand grasping his thick, full sides, and set him down on the counter top. He straightened up, uncrinkling a bit. “Harumph. Well. That’s better. What should we bake?”

[Note that these cookies are indeed quite crunchy (snappy?), so get ready for a crunch-o-liscious foodgasm. Those who prefer their cookies soft, run far away!]

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, cut up
1/4 cup well-packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses (aka treacle!)

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, powder, and salt. Stir.
  2. In a small saucepan, on low heat, melt butter, molasses, and brown sugar together, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  3. Pour hot mixture into bowl and mix dry and wet until dough forms.
  4. Press dough into a large disk and refrigerate in plastic wrap for one hour.
  5. After an hour, preheat oven to 350º F and prepare two parchment papered cookie sheets.
  6. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface into about 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes. Repeat until dough is used up.
  7. Bake until just firm and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool.

adapted from The Golden Book of Cookies.

Banana Loaf

April 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

There are four bananas, overripe and lonely for my stomach, sitting on the counter top, crying. They feel abandoned and depressed in their inability to do something about it. All their brothers and sisters have been happily devoured, but these four were forgotten, left by the wayside in my distraction for the pears, the grapes, the pink ladies. It’s a sad, sad thing. Their brownish yellow skin expresses the melancholy state of their mushy, brown souls. And I’ve got to help. I’ve got to do something.

4 ripe bananas (the more ripe, the better!)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a large bowl, mash four ripe bananas. Add sugar and melted butter, mixing well. Add egg (beaten in a separate bowl beforehand) and mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, stirring to combine.
  4. Add dry to wet, and beat. Add raisins, and anything else you’d like (walnuts? apple chunks?)
  5. Pour batter into a buttered loaf pan and bake about 50 minutes, or until knife comes out almost-clean. (I like mine gooey!)
And now, the bananas feel purposeful. They’ve come together with the butter, the sugar, the flour, all to create something truly magical. Thank you, my dear bananas. I will enjoy this bread in your honor.
Adapted from a Cookie recipe.

Vanilla Yogurt Cake

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

As the all-too clichéd phrase goes, April showers bring May flowers. Despite trees birthing tiny buds on their branches, and despite bright green shoots that are slowly inching their way through the winter-sewn dirt along the sidewalks, it doesn’t feel like spring yet. It’s cold. And gloomy. The sky is grey and cloudless. The air is frigid and moist, and the rain is pounding against the windows. We’re in need of warmth. Of comfort food-warmth. Steaming, sweet, pound cake comfort-food warmth, to be exact.

A toasted slice of this yogurt vanilla cake, with a large pat of butter, and a warm cup of coffee, has transformed the day.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup thick plain yogurt (whole milk or Greek)
7 ounces unsalted butter
4 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  1. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Beat sugar and butter until fully incorporated. Add lemon zest, yogurt, and vanilla extract, continuing to beat.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In three parts, add dry mixture to wet, storing until smooth.
  6. Whisk egg whites until stiff. When peaks have formed, fold into mixture.
  7. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles of your choice.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, or until knife comes out of center almost clean.

Adapted from Italian Desserts!

Scrumptious Sweet Potato Fries

April 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Have any leftover winter sweet potatoes? Put those ridiculous roots to use with this simply satiating surprise.

1 long sweet potato
1 teaspoon olive oil
cinnamon, to taste
1 tablespoon brown sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400º F.
  2. Slice sweet potato length-wise, into four.
  3. Place on baking sheet (or parchment paper on rack in oven, as I always do)
  4. Drizzle olive oil and dust with cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating each piece once at the 20 minute mark.
  6. At 40 minutes, sprinkle sugar over tops of potatoes and leave in oven for 7 more minutes.
  7. Allow to cool, about 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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