Archive for December, 2008

Heart Attack Twice Baked Potato Casserole

Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse

Serves 8 to 10

Making something new for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is always problematic. Everyone seems to want what is traditional for those meals, whatever that tradition is for their family.
For instance, at my house, we always have to have herb stuffing baked inside the turkey. Now, you and I know that the turkey should just have aromatics in the cavity and the stuffing should be baked separately.
But, my family will not hear of that. To get around the problem of the stuffing needing to be heated up higher than the dark or white meat of the turkey, I make the stuffing at the last minute and stuff the turkey with hot stuffing the give the stuffing a head start.
But, again I digress.
Last year I baked a twice baked potato casserole that I saw Emeril make on TV and it was a big hit. In fact, my family asked me to make it again this year and it disappeared again.
This makes this dish a classic and a tradition at our house. It is one that we will most likely have for special dinners throughout the year. But not too often.
This is a very rich dish and tastes delicious. My family has nicknamed this dish: Heart Attack Twice Baked Potato Casserole because as you take a bite, your brain is telling you how great it is as you simultaneously hear your arteries closing up!
This is a great potato dish. Give it a try.

Recipe to follow.

Continue reading ‘Heart Attack Twice Baked Potato Casserole’

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Chicken Breasts with Orange Sauce

Serves 4 to 6

We all have those old family recipes that are in a box on a 3×5 card that someone gave you years ago.

This is just such a recipe.
This is an old favorite of our family and it is delicious.
It is not hard to make and it if very filling.
Some night when you want something really good to eat, cook some rice and make this.
You will not be sorry.

Recipe follows.

Continue reading ‘Chicken Breasts with Orange Sauce’

Kitchen Tools #13: Reynolds Non-Stick Aluminum Foil


There’s a new helper at MuirFood: Reynolds Non-Stick Aluminum Foil.
This stuff is amazing. I recently made Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from a recipe by Shirley O. Corriher’s new book Bakewize (recipe to come, they’re delicious by the way).  In the recipe, she recommended using this product so I gave it a try.
Nothing sticks to this the dull side of this stuff.
It is easier to use than parchment paper because it conforms to the pan without curling up.
And, it is less expensive than parchment paper:
Parchment paper: $0.1130 per square foot
Non-stick aluminum foil: $0.0997 per square foot.
I will still have parchment paper in my kitchen for sliding bread off a wooden peel and into a hot oven, bread parchment paper and all.
But, for lining cookie sheets to protect them from sticky stuff oozing out of pies or to keep cookies from sticking, non-stick aluminum foil it is.

How much does an egg weigh or a cup of rolled oats or a cup of honey for that matter?

On this blog, there has been a lot of interest in the weight of a cup of flour. So I thought I would follow that post up with the weights of various other baking ingredients. The original post can be found here.
Remember that weighing your ingredients on a digital scale increases accuracy and makes you a better baker. The digital scale I recommend in here.  Precision in baking is key.
The following table was built based on research I did on the Internet and in my cookbook collection.  And, a funny thing happened on the way to the digital scale.  No one seems to agree on what ingredients weigh!  Amazing.  How long have we been baking around the world?
What I decided to do is show you the results of my research while at the same time listing what I use in my kitchen.  You will have to make up your own mind as to what a cup of corn syrup weighs or any other ingredient for that matter.
I hope this helps in your quest to be a better baker.

Weight (ounces)
Ingredient Vol
KA PR FS Bill
Buttermilk 1 cup 8 8 8 8
Cornmeal 1 cup 4.8 6 5.3 5
Corn syrup 1 cup 11 8 12 11
Egg, whole 1 large 1.75 1.67 1.6 1.6
Honey 1 cup 12 11 12 12
Milk 1 cup 8 8 8.5 8
Oats, rolled 1 cup 3.5 4 ~~ 4
Oil, vegetable 1 cup 7 8 8 8
Raisins, loose 1 cup 5.25 6 5.3 5.5
Sour cream 1 cup 8 8 8 8
Sugar, granulated 1 cup 7 8 8 7
Sugar, powdered 1 cup 4 ~~ 5.3 4
Yogurt 1 cup 8 8 8 8
Sources:
KA = King Arthur Flour
PR = Peter Reinhart
FS = Fareshare.net
Bill: What I use

Mom’s Faboulous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

My wife, Mary Ann, loves chocolate chip cookies.  For that matter, our whole family loves chocolate chip cookies.  She has been tinkering with the Toll House recipe for years. And boy did she finally get it right.
The changes are not major but they make a difference. Our three sons love these cookies, so we usually double the recipe.
I’m going to give you the recipe for just a single batch, but feel free to double it. It works out great.
When it comes to chocolate chips, Nestle Toll house semi-sweet morsels work great. But, when I make them, I like to throw in some dark chocolate chips with 53% to 60% cacao. Or, you can mix 1/2 semi-sweet and 1/2 dark. Ghirardelli or Callebaut dark chocolate chips work nicely.
Has there ever been a bad chocolate chip cookie. Maybe. But this recipe is just delicious.
The changes? Well, my wife uses 1/2 butter and 1/2 butter-flavored Crisco. Also, she just uses 1/2 the amount of chocolate chips called for. We found over the years that too many chocolate chips gets in the way of tasting the cookie.
Could it be that Nestle calls for two cups of chocolate chips just to sell more chocolate chips? Oh the cynic in me.
The other thing Mary Ann does is chill the dough. We have learned to use the cookie scoop first and chill the cookie dough balls next. Read about it here.
One last thing, please do not over bake these cookies. After about 11 minutes, they should just be beginning to brown on the edges and be soft in the center.
Take them out of the oven and let them rest on the counter on top of pot holders for about two minutes. They will continue to bake. Remove them to a wire rack and cool completely (yea right!).
Also, check the note on storage at the end of the recipe for a neat trick Mary Ann employs for chewy cookies every time.

Recipe follows.
Continue reading ‘Mom’s Faboulous Chocolate Chip Cookies’

Tip #10: Using a Cookie Scoop

For years, my wife, Mary Ann, and I have made cookies for our three sons and our friends. Chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal, peanut butter, you name it. We’ve made them all.
And usually we use a cookie scoop to form the cookies. See the Kitchen Tool discussion here.
Many cookie recipes call for chilling the dough before baking, like the one we use for chocolate chip cookies.
In the past, we have chilled the dough and then formed the cookies.
Bad idea.
Make the dough and using the cookie scoop, form the balls of dough for the cookies while the dough is warm. Trust me, it is much easier to use the cookie scoop when the dough is warm.
Place all the dough balls close together on a cookie sheet, cover them with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator or out in the garage in winter, like here in Michigan, for about 30 minutes while you fire up the oven.
Bake the cookies by putting 12 dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and bake away.
Simple I know, but this little tip will save your hands and wrists.
You’ll be making cookies into your 90s!

Kitchen Tools #12: The Cookie Scoop

If you like to make cookies, you should consider getting a cookie scoop, aka an ice cream scoop.
But, a cookie scoop is usually smaller. I have three sizes of cookie scoops and usually I use the smallest one.
My family likes to eat two smaller cookies instead of one larger one. Go figure.
What a cookie scoop does is make each cookie the same size.
Thus, all the cookie bake at the same rate and all finish baking at the same time.
As with the digital scale, the cookie scoop gives you consistency. And that makes your baking better and more enjoyable.
So give the cookie scoop a try. It’ll make you a better cook.