Vegan BBQ Sliders

   

It’s summer time, which means picnics and barbecues are in full swing. These vegan sliders are perfect for all of the warm weather festivities, or even just a weekend at home when you’re craving something different. They are simple to make, portable, and will satisfy any hungry monster’s hankering for smoky goodness. 

Vegan BBQ Sliders

It looks pretty dang meaty doesn’t it? Well it’s not! And it’s not soy beef or seitan or tofu or anything else you may expect. It’s an ingredient many people have never even heard of – jackfruit! Well informed vegans may already be aware that there is a number of pulled pork style jackfruit recipes out there, but I find that type of BBQ to be too sweet. As an alternative, I made this recipe to simulate more of a brisket style of sandwich that my dad used to make when I was growing up. You can eat it on soft slider buns, stuff it into a hoagie, or even make tasty tacos out of it. The base recipe is simple and open to many delicious adaptations. So… where do you get this mysterious jackfruit? You can buy cans at your local Asian grocer, or order it from Amazon if you don’t have an Asian market available. Stock up because you’ll probably want to make these again!

Vegan BBQ Sliders

Vegan BBQ Sliders
Serves 5
Smoky, salty brisket-style vegan sliders made from jackfruit.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cans of young jackfruit (packed in brine or water, not syrup - very important)
  2. 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  3. 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce (also available at the Asian market)
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 2 tablespoons dill pickle juice (I prefer a pickle with a saltier, more acidic brine - I use Vlasic)
  6. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (sometimes I put in another 1/2 teaspoon for extra smokiness - but start low because this stuff is potent)
  7. 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
  8. 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  9. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  11. Additional olive oil for drizzling
  12. Soft slider rolls
  13. Preferred toppings (BBQ sauce, Vegenaise, relish - whatever floats your boat!)
Instructions
  1. Drain the jackfruit and using your fingers shred the pieces into a medium sized bowl. There might be a few chunkier pieces and that's ok.
  2. Whisk together all of the remaining ingredients for the marinade. Pour over the jackfruit and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
  3. In a medium to medium-high heat skillet throw in the jackfruit. You're going to let this cook for a while to evaporate most of the liquid. You want to "dry" it out a bit. Limit stirring because a big part of the flavor comes from the sear you get from cooking on high heat. The sugars in the marinade will caramelize and create sort of a "bark" that I feel makes it taste more like authentic BBQ.
  4. Once it's cooked put a drizzle of more oil over the top just to make it a bit more rich and fatty like a nice raunchy southern sandwich should be. :) You've just cooked out a fair amount of moisture so this gives it a little more life again.
  5. Pile high on rolls and combine with whatever toppings you love.
Notes
  1. Make sure to purchase only YOUNG jackfruit in a can, unless you're lucky enough to have a market that serves pre-cut young jackfruit. Fresh and frozen jackfruit tends to be ripe - and therefore sweet, so it won't work well in this recipe.
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Vegan BBQ Sliders


Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

   

What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t give you a delicious, simple chocolate recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day? These chocolate hazelnut truffles can be finished in a few different ways depending on your tastes and the amount of time you have, but the ganache base in the center of each one is silky and divine.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

One of the most important things to know when it comes to making delicious truffles is that you need to start with high quality ingredients. Chocolate is center stage in this recipe so you want to get the best quality possible. If you want to save a little money you could always blend a more affordable chocolate with something on the luxurious side, but quality will definitely shine here.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

The easiest way to finish these truffles is definitely with a quick toss in some good cocoa powder. Quality matters here as well! The cocoa powder will be the first thing that touches your tongue after all. I used Penzeys high fat dutch process cocoa powder.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

If straight up cocoa powder is too bitter for you, there are plenty of other options at your disposal. You can blend the cocoa with a little powdered sugar to sweeten it, use straight powdered sugar, sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed peppermint, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, candy melts, or tempered chocolate. Let your creativity flow and use whatever is available to you.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Serves 20
Chocolate hazelnut truffles are simple, elegant, and delicious.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 8oz high quality chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark Valrhona chocolate)
  2. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
  6. Toppings of your choice for coating truffles (cocoa, nuts, sprinkles, melted tempered chocolate, etc)
Instructions
  1. Blend your chocolate in the food processor to break it down into fine pieces. I do this to help it melt more quickly. Place chocolate in a large glass bowl with the unsalted butter and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan heat your heavy cream until it just barely comes to a simmer, then pour over your chocolate. Let sit for about a minute.
  3. Whisk chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny. Add your vanilla and hazelnut flavorings and then stir to combine.
  4. Leave your bowl somewhere to cool until it can be formed into balls. This took about 45 minutes for me.
  5. For the easiest method of forming the truffles, simply scoop out a small ball of the ganache and then roll in cocoa powder (or whatever you choose).
  6. For a slightly more advanced method dust the inside of a silicone mold with a small amount of cocoa powder, fill with ganache, and let cool completely before releasing. Once you've removed the chocolate from the mold just coat as usual.
  7. If you would like to coat your truffles with a nice shell, you can either use candy melts (pretty foolproof and they comes in lots of fun colors) or properly tempered chocolate. I brushed the inside of my mold with chocolate, let it set until firm, added a small dollop of the ganache filling, and then topped with more chocolate. Once set and totally firm I released it from the mold and brushed it with a little pearl dust.
Calories
  1. 99
Notes
  1. You will have the best results if you don't refrigerate your chocolate, as it can affect the chocolate's texture and flavor. If you're in a pinch it can do the trick though!
  2. Calories are calculated based on using 1/4 cup of high fat dutch processed cocoa for rolling. Count will vary if using tempered chocolate, nuts, or sugar.
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Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles


Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

   

I’m going to blunt when I start off this post today – I love this soup. It contains caramelized roasted cauliflower, potato, sharp white cheddar, sour cream, and fresh parsley. If you know anyone that is on the fence about cauliflower, throw a bowl of this soup at them and knock them down. Onto the cauliflower loving side of course.

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

You can break the steps of this recipe into two parts if you prefer. The cauliflower can definitely be roasted ahead of time so you only need to worry about the soup itself when dinner rolls around. I find that the entire process overlaps pretty well though, and that if I get the cauliflower in the oven first everything else is ready by the time it’s done cooking. I believe it would also be pretty simple to cut the calories in the recipe by using skim milk, a reduced fat cheese, and reduced fat sour cream.  I personally find this soup is hearty enough to eat as a meal with a chunk of good bread, and at less than 350 calories per bowl I don’t feel too bad about going full fat for really good cheesy flavor. I don’t call myself the Gouda Monster for nothing!

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  2. 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
  7. 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  8. 5 cups stock
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  11. 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  12. 1 cup milk
  13. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  14. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  15. 4 ounces sour cream (creme fraiche works well too)
  16. 5 ounces shredded sharp white cheddar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Toss cauliflower florets with the 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown on the edges.
  2. Heat the other teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan and lightly cook your onion and garlic for a couple of minutes, before adding in the diced potato. Cook the potato for 2-3 minutes, pour in the stock, add the bay leaf, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and allow to cook until the potatoes are fork tender. This happens more quickly if your potatoes are finely diced.
  3. When the cauliflower is roasted, add it to the soup pot with the potatoes. I recommend reserving a few pieces for garnish because they are just so tasty on their own. Keep soup covered while you make your roux.
  4. In a small sauce pan melt your butter down. Once hot sprinkle the flour over the top and whisk until smooth. Cook for about a minute and then add your milk. Season with black pepper and nutmeg. Continue whisking the mixture until it thickens slightly - about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Remove soup from heat. Using an immersion blender puree your soup to desired consistency (I like to leave it a little bit chunky). If you don't have an immersion blender you could transfer the soup to a regular blender to puree in batches.
  6. Stir in the thickened milk sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese and fresh parsley. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Calories
  1. 339
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Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

This giveaway has ended – Thanks to everyone that participated!

And now of course for the contest information! I’m really excited to finally be able to have my first giveaway on Gouda Monster. For Christmas I got two immersion blenders – what a lucky break for my readers, right? My hand blender is probably one of my most coveted kitchen gadgets. After mine broke I felt lost without it – there is definitely no easier way to quickly puree a soup or whip up small batches of sauces, dressing, or salsas. I also use mine to create smoothies in the morning because I find cleanup to be far simpler than a full sized blender. The particular model up for grabs is the Cuisinart CSB-75BC Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender in Brushed Chrome, which holds a glowing 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  There are several ways to enter and entries will be open for two weeks, however due to shipping costs I will only be able to ship to people that live within the United States & Canada. The winner will be announced by the end of the month – good luck!

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Immersion Blender Giveaway


Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

   

Next in line for my series of Christmas cookie posts is the ever adored snickerdoodle. For the longest time I had no idea what a snickerdoodle was, and when I learned they were cookies rolled in cinnamon sugar I was a bit confused. Where were the peanuts and nougat and caramel? This ain’t no Snickers! Then the realization slowly settled in that snickerdoodle cookies had absolutely nothing to do with Snickers candy bars. I’m pretty sure I can’t be the first person to make that mistake, so I don’t feel too bad about it. What I DO feel bad about is the fact that it took so long for them to find their way into my life.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

A funny thing about this particular batch of cookies (as well as the ones in my next post) is that I baked them up to barter with. Yes, my youngest niece’s Christmas gift was paid for in cookies. I’m finding it very difficult not to talk about what it was that I received in exchange for these sweet treats, but I’m opting to keep my lips sealed until after Christmas as I prefer to keep the gifts to the girls a secret from my brother and his girlfriend as well.  [Post Christmas edit: I wanted to pimp out Leanne’s beautiful work, as the gift I cookie swapped for was a pair of her lovely fairy wings. J’adore! You can visit her Etsy page here: Fairy Spirit Studios]

For this recipe I’ve given it a few small tweaks to enhance an already good thing. I brown half of the butter and I use just a touch of ground ginger in the cinnamon sugar mixture. The final thing that contributes to making this cookie a little different from your standard snickerdoodle recipe is the use of bread flour for its higher protein content. The end result is a soft, chewy snickerdoodle with the rich underlying flavor of brown butter that plays nicely with the sugar spice blend.

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
Serves 36
Soft, chewy snickerdoodles with brown butter and a hint of ginger.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
26 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
26 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. 3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer mixed in 1/4 cup of water or 2 large eggs
  6. 2 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1/2 cup bread flour
  8. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  9. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 2 tablespoons white sugar
  13. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  14. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. The butter will begin to foam and eventually subside. Whisk regularly until the butter turns a rich amber color and releases a nutty aroma. Transfer to another container and allow to cool.
  3. In a stand mixer combine cooled brown butter, softened butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add vanilla and egg replacer (or eggs) and mix until well incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together both flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  6. Working in batches, add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time to the wet ingredients. Mix until just incorporated before adding the next third. Repeat with remaining flour. The dough should hold together if you squeeze it between your fingers. If it seems too crumbly, add another 1-2 tablespoons of water.
  7. In a small bowl mix the 2 tablespoons of white sugar with the ground cinnamon and ginger. Using a small scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop out a ball of dough. Roll it together in your hands to round it out, then coat it in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Transfer to parchment lined sheet allowing about 2 inches between each cookies.
  8. Bake for 11 minutes. The cookies might seem just slightly underdone but they will continue to cook as they sit on the counter. Let sit for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Brown Butter Snickerdoodles


Savory Vegan Gravy

   

Gravy is one of my favorite types of sauces; I smother just about everything on my plate with the stuff when I can get away with it. Even my favorite breakfast is fresh buttermilk biscuits under a blanket of piping hot cream gravy. That’s why it’s so confusing that I so rarely cook my own gravy on Thanksgiving day. I guess it’s just because I already have so much on my to-do list that I figure I will save myself a little bit of time by picking up a tub of vegetarian gravy from the grocery store. You know what though? It almost always disappoints. The quality of the other food at the table tends to outshine the hint of bitterness I feel for not having made the gravy from scratch… but not this year!

Savory Vegan Gravy

Whenever I was writing up this recipe I had some serious internal conflict as to whether or not I wanted to put “vegan” in the title. On one hand I’m excited to let vegans know that they can have gravy so good they’ll want to pour a bowl of it and eat it like soup. On the other hand… well, I want the non-vegans to know that they will want to do the same thing. The word vegan can be a little intimidating to some folks, especially when dealing with traditional meat centric recipes – but it shouldn’t be! This gravy is good. It’s damn good – and I think that anyone at your table (vegetarian or not) will absolutely love it.

Savory Vegan Gravy

First can I just tell you that this gravy is made with two heads of garlic? You heard right. Not two cloves… two heads of garlic. That alone should assure you that this recipe is not messing around when it comes to flavor. I know that plenty of people don’t want to put their pan drippings to waste, so if you aren’t a vegetarian you can certainly substitute them in place of the oil while making your roux. Vegetarians could also use butter instead of oil if that’s what they like. In either case I wouldn’t recommend removing the nutritional yeast from the recipe. It’s an unfamiliar ingredient to some, but don’t let the off-putting name deter you from giving it a try. It’s generally fortified with B12, is a good source of protein, is naturally fat and sodium free – but none of that stuff would really matter if it didn’t taste good, would it? Don’t worry – it does! Most people liken the flavor to that of a mild, nutty parmesan cheese. It has a lot of uses, but in this recipe it slightly thickens the sauce while enhancing its savory flavors. If you decide to go without, I would probably double the roux and allow your gravy to reduce for longer. I’ve never done this myself though, so if you try it be sure to let me know how it goes!

Savory Vegan Gravy

Savory Vegan Gravy
Serves 8
An intensely flavorful garlic-based gravy that vegans and non-vegans alike will love.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups good quality vegetable stock
  2. 2 garlic heads, whole and unpeeled
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, cut into chunks
  4. 1 carrot, quartered
  5. 1 celery stalk, quartered
  6. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh sage
  8. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  11. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  12. 2 tablespoons flour
  13. 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan add vegetable stock, whole garlic heads, onion, carrot, celery, pepper, sage, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45-50 minutes.
  2. Strain the stock, reserving only the garlic heads. Set the garlic aside to cool and place the stock back on the stove to stay warm.
  3. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out into the warm stock. I like to mash them with my fingers as I do this so they are broken up in the gravy. Whisk in the nutritional yeast and additional fresh thyme.
  4. In a high sided skillet heat olive oil. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Allow it to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the paste is lightly browned.
  5. Slowly pour the stock into your flour paste, whisking until well combined. Allow to simmer over medium low heat for 12-15 minutes or until gravy reaches the desired thickness (I would usually make mine a little thicker than shown in the photos, but I was too excited to eat and I couldn’t wait!) Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Makes about 2 cups.
Calories
  1. 70
Adapted from Passionate Vegetarian
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Savory Vegan Gravy

 


Dad’s Cornbread Dressing

   

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I didn’t like dressing as a kid. I’m not sure why it took me so long to evolve into a rational human being with properly functioning taste buds, but fortunately I wasn’t crazy forever and now I’m an honest to goodness dressing fiend. Like most families, our Thanksgiving table is steeped in familiarity and tradition. The spread rarely changes – roasted turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, token green veggie casserole of some sort, dinner rolls, and of course good ol’ cornbread dressing. Dressing – or stuffing if that’s what you prefer to call it – seems to be a very personal thing and the idea of what makes it good varies from family to family. But if someone were to ask me about the dressing I crave (I’m going to pretend you just did), then I would tell them it would definitely be this adaptation of the recipe my dad makes every year.

 

Dad's Cornbread Dressing

My changes from the original are probably a little bit obvious if you are aware of the fact I ate meat until I was 18 – so naturally the main adjustment was making it vegetarian friendly. Dad also prepares his with chopped up hard-boiled eggs, something that’s never been my cup of tea but a lot of people really enjoy eggs in their dressing. If you’re a vegan and looking to adapt this to your lifestyle, substitute the butter with olive oil or margarine and omit the parmesan cheese. Adding a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast would be awesome in its place. You’ll also want to make sure that the breakfast sausage you use is vegan friendly. On the other hand, if you’re a meat-eater you can use regular sausage – but make sure it is cooked before adding it to the recipe.

cornbreadstuffing2

One of the great things about recipes like these is that they are so easy to change to suit your personal tastes. Someone that likes a more dry and crumbly dressing (no doubt for its optimal gravy absorption qualities) can use less stock, whereas the people that want their dressing thick enough to slice can use more. I would say that anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 cups is the range you want to stay in. The force with which you pack it into the casserole dish before baking will also have an effect on the end texture. Personally I like a bit of balance between the two extremes and I’ve written up the recipe to reflect that preference. You can substitute other nuts for the pecans, toss some sauteed button mushrooms into the mix, use a different combination of fresh herbs, bake individual servings in muffin tins, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Hell, try using jalapeno cornbread and chorizo for a southwestern twist. Once you’re acquainted with the basic ingredients, it’s pretty simple to take this recipe and make it your own. Ahh, the beauty of cooking…

Dad's Cornbread Dressing

Dad's Cornbread Dressing
Serves 12
A vegetarian friendly cornbread dressing with fresh herbs, sausage, and pecans.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 8″ skillet (or 8×8″ pan) of cornbread
  2. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  4. 2 stalks celery, diced
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced (this was about 12 medium sized sage leaves for me)
  7. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  10. 4 vegetarian breakfast sausage patties, cooked and chopped (this ends up being about 1 cup of sausage)
  11. 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  12. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  13. 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  14. 2 cups prepared stock (give or take depending on how crumbly or moist your prefer your dressing to be)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Butter your casserole dish (I used an 8″x11″ oval dish) and set aside.
  2. In a nonstick skillet heat butter, sage, and rosemary on medium heat until the butter just starts to bubble.
  3. Add onion, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper then cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove rosemary sprig and transfer the contents of the skillet to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Wipe the skillet clean and toss in your chopped pecans. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and then add them to the mixing bowl.
  5. Crumble the cornbread into the bowl with the sausage, parsley, and cheese. Toss everything until well combined. Taste and add a little more salt if needed (I find the individual ingredients usually have enough sodium on their own that it doesn’t need it).
  6. Transfer the cornbread mixture to your prepared baking dish and lightly pack it down. Pour stock evenly over the top.
  7. Place dish in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. If you prefer the top to be a little more crisp, pop it under the broiler for a minute or two.
Calories
  1. 255
Notes
  1. You can easily get this recipe under 200 calories by using half of the pecans and cutting the butter back to 1 tablespoon. Add a touch more stock to compensate for the reduced amount of butter.
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Dad's Cornbread Dressing


Autumn Minestrone

   

Few dishes are more comforting than a piping hot bowl of soup during the chilly months. I love making soups and stews; not only are they almost completely foolproof, they are also easily customizable. Whatever leftover veggies are in the fridge can be tossed into a pot and transformed into a hearty meal – it’s awesome.

Autumn Minestrone

For this minestrone I used Pomi brand boxed tomatoes because I love the flavor as well as the fact that they are not cooked with salt. One box of Pomi tomatoes is about the same as two 14oz cans, and you can substitute accordingly. Keep in mind that you may want to tweak the salt in the recipe if your canned tomatoes contain sodium. Also feel free to use more pasta. I choose to go fairly light to focus on the vegetables and keep the calorie count low.

Autumn Minestrone

Autumn Minestrone
Serves 6
A warm, comforting soup that is full of vegetables and low in calories.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  3. 2 stalks celery, diced
  4. 1 cup carrots, chopped
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 4 cups stock
  7. 1 28oz carton chopped tomatoes (or 2 14oz cans)
  8. 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust depending on the sodium content of your stock and tomatoes)
  10. 1 sprig of rosemary, stem removed and leaves minced
  11. 1 bay leaf
  12. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  13. 1/2 cup small, dry pasta (I used cavatelli)
  14. 2 cups kale, chopped (or other green of choice)
  15. 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a deep soup pan heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots and cook until onions are slightly translucent – about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add stock, tomatoes, and all of your seasonings. Bring soup just to boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add pasta and kale, cooking for another 10-12 minutes (or however long your pasta needs to cook based on package instructions).
  4. Just before serving stir in fresh parsley.
Calories
  1. 148
Optional olive bread crouton topping
  1. Cut olive bread into 1 inch pieces and toss with a small amount of olive oil to coat. Spread onto a nonstick baking sheet and put into a 400F oven for about 15 minutes or until the croutons are dry and crunchy.
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Autumn Minestrone


Handmade Potato Gnocchi

   

The first time I tried gnocchi was from a vacuum-sealed pack I picked up at my local grocery store. At first bite I immediately wondered how I had gone so long without even once consuming these tasty little dumplings. Seriously, what was I doing with my life? You can imagine how I felt the first time I ordered a plate of fresh, handmade gnocchi from a reputable Italian restaurant. I was floored by how much more light and pillowy they were than their prepackaged cousins. With that meal I decided that I needed to learn how to make gnocchi myself… which unfortunately led to a series of failures that never measured up to the quality I came to expect from an Italian kitchen. Through trial and error, plenty of research, and a bit of patience, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally married each of the elements needed to making a soft, delicious gnocchi!

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Making a dish like this is certainly a labor of love, but the results are very much worth it. Even though the entire process is rather lengthy, the majority of that process is waiting. Handling the dough is arguably the most tedious step, particularly if you choose to roll your gnocchi on a gnocchi board or a fork to get the iconic grooves in each dumpling. The nice thing is that you don’t have to roll your gnocchi. It’s perfectly fine to simply cut up the pieces and cook them as is. There is a benefit to the grooves however – they provide a lot of “grip” for holding onto sauces. If you want a compromise you could simply press a small indentation into each dumpling and forgo the grooves.

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Here is a list of the things I’ve learned when it comes to making quality gnocchi:

  • Choose the right potato. You want a mealy, starchy potato (such as a russet).
  •  Make sure your potato flesh is dry and lump-free. I use a ricer to get an even, fluffy texture.
  • Use only enough flour to bring the dough together.
  • Do not over handle the dough. This runs the risk of producing dense, heavy gnocchi.
  • Cook your gnocchi at a gentle boil, not a rapid one that will throw them around in the pot.
  • They cook quickly, be ready to scoop them out as soon as they float to the surface.

I started by boiling 3 medium sized russet potatoes in well-salted water. Once fork tender (about 30 minutes) I took them out and removed the skins with the help of some paper towels. The potatoes were still warm and the paper towels not only have an uneven texture that pulls the skins away easily, it also makes it possible to handle the hot potatoes. The naked tators were pressed through a ricer onto a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. This is a step that I made up myself after having experienced problems with too-wet potatoes in the past. I preheated the oven to 200F, put the cookie sheet in the oven, left the door cracked open, and turned off the heat. The potatoes were left there to cool completely and the residual warmth from the oven helped dry them out a little further. Once cool, the riced potatoes were put onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkled with about 3/4 cup of cake flour. One recipe I read suggested 1 cup of flour per pound of riced potatoes – 3/4 cup ended up being the right amount for me. I used cake flour because of its lower protein content, which during my intense gnocchi studies I learned helps promote a lighter texture in the end. Work the flour into the potato until it become a soft, pliable dough. Cut dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll the pieces into ropes. Line the ropes up next to one another and cut your gnocchi into approximately 1″ pieces. You can either cook them this way or choose to roll your gnocchi on the back of a fork (or gnocchi board) to get the grooved texture. Place the gnocchi at the top of the fork tines and gently press down, rolling it across the fork with your thumb. It will be slightly curled with the indentations on the opposite side.

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

That’s all there is to it! Yeah ok, I know it is kind of a lot of take in. The only way to really master the technique is to buy some potatoes, flour up your hands, and get to practicing! The beautiful thing about gnocchi is that once you’re done making them, they cook in a flash, and there are dozens of super quick ways to serve them. Gnocchi have a very simple flavor on their own, making them ideal vehicles for rich, flavorful sauces. I prepared (and photographed) my finished gnocchi three different ways to give you some ideas for serving. Each of these preparations took under 10 minutes.

The top image on the page is the vegan option where I sauteed garlic in a bit of olive oil and threw in the gnocchi (straight from the pot it was boiling in) with some pine nuts. Just before serving I squeezed lemon juice over the top and tossed it with fresh parsley and black pepper. The second dish shows one of the more common ways of serving gnocchi. Browned butter with sage. It’s hard to beat a classic! The final image (at the bottom) shows an oven-baked variation. I sauteed some garlic in a bit of butter, threw in my cooked gnocchi to get a quick sear, added chopped tomato, torn basil, and cubes of soft, fresh mozzarella. Popped it under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top and it’s done. Now all you need is some fresh handmade gnocchi and you’re good to experiment on your own!

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

Handmade Potato Gnocchi
Serves 3
A soft, fluffy gnocchi prepared without any eggs.
Print
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
2 hr
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 small to medium sized russet potatoes
  2. 3/4-1 cup cake flour (amount used depends on the size of your potatoes)
  3. Salt, both for boiling and for seasoning the gnocchi
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200F.
  2. In generously salted water, boil potatoes until fork tender (about 30 minutes for the potatoes I used).
  3. Remove potatoes from boiling water and carefully remove the skins. Press potatoes through ricer. If you do not have a ricer I’ve heard that grating the potatoes works quite well too.
  4. Transfer potato to cookie sheet lined with paper towels and place in oven. Turn off heat, crack open the oven door, and allow potatoes to cool completely.
  5. Put fresh pot of salted water on to boil while you make your gnocchi.
  6. Spread cooled potato mixture onto lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with a bit of salt (maybe 1/4 teaspoon) and cake flour. Work flour into the potato until it becomes a smooth, pliable dough.
  7. Cut dough into 3-4 equal pieces and roll into ropes. Line ropes up side-by-side and cut your gnocchi into roughly 1″ pieces.
  8. If desired roll your gnocchi on the back of a fork for added texture.
  9. Put cut gnocchi into gently boiling water (if the boil is too rough it can bounce them around more than necessary). When they float to the surface they are cooked. Remove immediately from water and toss in hot oil, butter, or other prepared sauce of choice.
Calories
  1. 217
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Handmade Potato Gnocchi

 


Pumpkin Scones w/ Brown Butter Glaze

   

Earlier this week I decided that I wanted to make pumpkin pancakes as my next blog post, but between then and now I noticed the food blogger scene absolutely exploding with pumpkin pancake recipes. While I’m sure I could have made some great pancakes with a unique twist on them, I decided to go a different route and making pumpkin spice scones instead. I’ve never actually made scones before but I have made plenty of biscuits so I figured I could tackle the job. We loved how they turned out – a nice slightly crumbly texture but not too dry, full of warm autumnal spices and not too sweet. That is until you pour the liquid crack over them. Ok, so the scones are good, but the browned butter glaze? I need to find a scientist to manifest this stuff into human form so I can make out with it in the back seat of a car. I am not ashamed of these thoughts.

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze

 Just as I talked about in my buttermilk biscuit recipe, it’s important to use cold ingredients when making scones. Handle the dough as little as possible or you run the risk of biting into tough, chewy scone as opposed to a soft, crumbly one. For the glaze (oh man, that glaze) you have a couple of options for how you can use it. One way is to put it into a piping bag and pipe stripes across each cooled scone for sort of a toaster strudel effect. The other option is to warm the glaze slightly and spoon it over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides. They are equally delicious but the latter is more conducive to eating the scones warm (which is how I preferred them). The glaze recipe actually makes enough to frost closer to 10 pastries, but the scone recipe itself only makes 8. Oh well, I guess you’ll just have to eat the rest with a spoon… dreadful I know…

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze

I find these to be just a little more moist and slightly cake-like than your traditional scone, but I think it’s wonderful that way. You could probably increase the cooking time just a tad to dry it out some more if that is your preference. Oh and if you don’t have all of the individual spices needed to follow the recipe exactly, you could always use a tablespoon or so of pumpkin pie spice instead. Get ready for your kitchen to smell amazing either way!

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze

Pumpkin Spice Scones
Serves 8
Warm, autumnal pumpkin scones come together in minutes.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup whole wheat flour
  3. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  9. 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted COLD butter, cubed
  10. 1/2 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  11. 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  12. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  14. 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  15. 1 tablespoon orange juice
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In basin of food processor combine flours, baking powder, salt, and spices with cubed butter. Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin, sugar, cream, vanilla extract, orange zest, and orange juice. Add to dry ingredients and pulse until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press into a circle about an inch thick. Slice circle into 8ths.
  5. Transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges or just barely turning golden.
  6. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. If piping stripes onto your scones, allow them to cool completely before frosting.
Calories
  1. 271
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Brown Butter Glaze
Serves 10
Rich, sweet and thoroughly addicting brown butter glaze is lick-the-bowl good.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup or 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  2. 1 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
  4. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2-4 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
Instructions
  1. Using a light bottomed pan (a dark nonstick surface makes it hard to see the color of your butter change) melt unsalted butter.
  2. The butter will begin to foam and eventually subside. Whisk regularly until the butter turns a rich amber color and releases a nutty aroma.
  3. In a medium bowl combine browned butter and remaining ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time to achieve your desired consistency.
Calories
  1. 97
Notes
  1. If you use all of the icing between the 8 scones (I wouldn’t blame you!) then the calories per serving changes to 121.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Pumpkin Scone w/ Brown Butter Glaze


Rosemary Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese “Fries”

   

The classic pairing of grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of my all time favorites. It’s something that I – and most other people I know  – grew up eating, so as adults it has evolved into no-fuss comfort food. Nostalgia aside, it’s incredibly easy to make a more grown-up version of this dish that will make you want to throw away your can opener and forget the name Campbell’s (except don’t toss the can opener because you need it for the tomatoes). I grow basil on my balcony because I love it so much and it’s almost always the flavor used in tomato soup, but if you’ve never made your tomato soup with rosemary you’re in for a real treat. It’s particularly wonderful when fall starts to roll around because rosemary has a savory, evergreen-like aroma that reminds me of the upcoming holidays. The soup itself is very low calorie (less than 80 per bowl) but I still wanted to find a way to trim down the calories on the grilled cheese front. In the end I decided to make open-faced grilled cheese “fries” so that each person only got one slice of bread instead of two. Not only is it a little bit healthier, but they are the perfect finger food for dunking into a piping hot bowl of soup. But yeah… I still ate two slices of bread because the fries were too delicious. Oh well… I tried!

Rosemary Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Fries

While making this for lunch today I didn’t remember until the very end that my immersion blender was broken. I ended up transferring the soup to the food processor to puree it which made me realize how much I LOVE my immersion blender. If you don’t have one of these and you find yourself making a lot of stove-top soups and sauces I highly recommend getting one. It makes your life so much easier! Doing it in the food processor or in the blender works fine though, just make sure that you’re careful as the hot liquid can splash around and make a mess – especially if you overfill the basin.

For the grilled cheese sticks I think using a combination of cheeses is the best way to go, but use whatever you have around. For mine I used a mix of sharp white cheddar, a colby-swiss blend, and mozzarella. The sharp cheddar gives it a nice pungent flavor while the other cheeses give an ooey gooey melty consistency. I used a total of 5 ounces so it would be a little under a serving of cheese per person – another area where I was trying to skim off a few calories. The bread I used was a white Italian bread with a subtle open crumb. The shallow holes end up creating yummy cheesy pockets of awesomeness, and in some cases the cheese oozed through and browned a little on the bottom when grilling – perfect.

Rosemary Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Fries

Rosemary Tomato Soup
Serves 6
Warm, comforting tomato soup infused with the scent of fresh rosemary.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  2. 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  3. 1 cup grated carrots
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  6. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  7. 5 cups vegetable stock
  8. 1 31.5 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  11. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  12. Salt, to taste (use more or less depending on the sodium content of your stock – I didn’t need any extra salt for mine)
  13. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in soup pan on medium high heat. When hot add onions, carrots, garlic, rosemary, and the 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Let cook for several minutes until the onions are just slightly caramelized.
  2. Pour stock into the pan, making sure to stir well to get all of the caramelized bits off of the bottom. Add entire can of tomatoes, bay leaf, and additional seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig from the soup. It’s ok if any rosemary leaves fell off while cooking, as they will be blended in when you puree the soup. Turn off the heat.
  4. Using either an immersion blender or food processor, puree soup to desired consistency.
  5. Transfer back to pot stir in the heavy cream. Serve immediately.
Calories
  1. 79
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Grilled Cheese "Fries"
Serves 6
Fun twist on traditional grilled cheese – perfect for soup dunking!
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 ounces shredded cheese (I used a blend of sharp white cheddar, colby-swiss, and mozzarella)
  2. 6 slices of good bread
  3. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat a skillet on medium high heat and turn on your oven’s broiler.
  2. Brush each slice of bread with the melted butter on one side. I had a little extra butter leftover and just poured it into my soup pot – yum!
  3. Place your bread, butter-side down, onto your hot skillet. Put shredded cheese on top and allow it to get nice and seared on the bottom.
  4. Transfer the bread slices to your oven to brown the cheese. It happens pretty quickly so take care not to let it burn.
  5. Put cheese bread on cutting board and let cool a couple of minutes before slicing into sticks. Top with fresh black pepper.
Calories
  1. 191
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Rosemary Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Fries


Taco Pizza

   

For those times when you can’t decide between taco night or pizza night, may I present for your consideration – Taco Pizza Night! I love this recipe because it’s high in protein and easy to throw together. Not only that, but you can scale the calories back to 170 calories per slice (340 calories for 1/3 of a 10-inch pizza) by using a reduced fat cheese and leaving off the avocado. Personally I think the 205 calories per slice is totally manageable in my diet though… and I never like to forgo the real deal when it comes to cheese! If you’re looking for a simple weeknight meal that can be whipped up in under half an hour, then this pizza should make its way into your oven and then into your mouth.

Taco Pizza

One of the things that makes this meal so easy to prepare is the use of a pre-made pizza crust. For the longest time I used whole grain lavash sheets to make a lower calorie variation on traditional pizza – like with my Quick Low Calorie Flatbread. Then I made an awesome discovery. One evening while doing my grocery shopping I came across the par-baked crusts from Pizza Romana and was shocked to see that the entire crust was only 300 calories. For comparison, a Boboli 8″ personal pizza crust is 380 calories while the 12″ pizza crust is over 1000 calories. The Pizza Romana crusts are about 10″ wide and made with very basic ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, oil). It makes for a perfect blank canvas to host an array of pizza toppings, and of course it worked wonderfully in this taco pizza. I’m able to find these at Central Market in Dallas – other HEB stores may carry them as well. If you cannot find these crusts in your area, Amazon happens to sell them by the 6-pack but the shipping cost is kind of ridonkulous. Another option would be making use of lavash as I did in my previous pizza recipe, or any other thin flatbreads that are readily available to you. And of course if you don’t care about the calories… by all means use whatever crust you want! Just make note that this could affect the overall cooking time.

Taco Pizza

Taco Pizza
Serves 3
A simple-to-prepare weeknight pizza that’s full of flavor.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 premade pizza crust (I used the one by Pizza Romana)
  2. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  3. 1 small yellow onion, diced
  4. 1/2-1 jalapeño pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
  5. 1 mini sweet red pepper, diced (or 1/2 bell pepper)
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 1/2 package or 1 1/2 cups vegetarian burger crumbles, thawed (I used Morningstar Farms)
  8. 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  9. 1/4 cup water
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  11. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  12. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  13. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  14. 2 1/2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  15. 8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  16. 1/2 avocado, sliced (or cubed depending on your preference)
  17. Chopped cilantro & green onion for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F (or whatever temperature your packaged crust suggests.)
  2. Using half a teaspoon of your olive oil, rub it along the outer edge of your prepared pizza crust. Lightly sprinkle with salt if desired. I find this gives a nicer texture and flavor to the crust when it comes out of the oven.
  3. Heat the remaining half teaspoon of olive oil on medium high heat in a nonstick skillet.
  4. Put onions, peppers, and garlic in the oil and let cook for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
  5. Add burger crumbles, tomato paste, water, and seasonings to the pan. Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle about half of the cheese onto your pizza crust. Since there is no sauce the cheese will act as a “glue” to hold your toppings in place. Evenly distribute the taco crumbles over the top of the cheese and then top with the remaining shredded cheddar.
  7. Place pizza directly on the oven rack and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the edges of the crust are crisp and golden. Use your crust’s package instructions as a guideline for cooking time.
  8. Remove from oven and top with fresh tomato, avocado, and herbs.
Calories
  1. 415
Notes
  1. Calories listed are for 2 slices or 1/3 of the whole pizza.
Variations
  1. Non vegetarians can brown 1/2 a pound of ground beef in place of the crumbles. Make sure to drain off excess grease before seasoning. I calculated the calorie info subbing in 80% lean ground beef and the calories/protein content were almost exactly the same as the original.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Taco Pizza

 

 

 


Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcakes

   

Like eleventy billion other people this weekend, I am super psyched up about the upcoming Breaking Bad finale. We are going to have a small viewing party over at my brother’s place on Sunday night and I thought I would make something special to bring along. Unfortunately I have been on a two week plan to not eat processed sugar for 14 days… and Sunday is the 14th day. There is no way I would ever show up with food that I didn’t taste first (strictly for quality control purposes of course!), so I ate a mere one quarter of a cupcake. It was certainly one of the most intense exercises in willpower that I’ve ever experienced! Those couple of bites were worth it too. Vanilla is a very simple flavor and these cupcakes are vanilla through and through, but with a couple of fun elements to set them apart. They are baked on top of a sugar cookie crust, the pale batter is flecked with bits of blue, and there is a hint of amaretto in the fluffy buttercream frosting. But of course the real show stopper is definitely the “blue meth” sugar glass on top.

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

First off you’ll want to make the sugar glass because it needs some time to chill. To make these cupcakes a lot simpler you could always use a box mix and prepared frosting, but the blue meth crystals are pretty iconic and will make your cupcakes unique. And you don’t have to do blue! Halloween is coming up and maybe you want to stab clear glass shards into your cake with red sauce oozing out of the middle. Heat resistant silicone molds could probably give you a lot of interesting ideas as well – pretty crystalline flowers, leaves, or butterflies. Making the glass is actually quite simple, but hot sugar is very dangerous to work with so take care when doing so. It’s not the sort of thing you want to be working on if you have little ones tugging on your pants near the stove.

The process is pretty straight forward. Combine all of the ingredients (except the coloring) to your pot, whisk until the sugar dissolves, attach a candy thermometer, and wait for two different temperature points. At 250F-260F you will add in your coloring but you won’t stir it; the boiling process will mix it for you. At 300F it should be ready to come off the heat. Test the sugar by putting a drop in a bowl of ice water. If it hardens and crackles a bit then you should be good to go. Pop the sugar off the heat and let it sit to release as many bubbles as possible before slowly pouring into a foil-lined pan lubed up with a little cooking spray. It will chill in the fridge for about an hour before you can take it out and SMASH IT WITH A HAMMER!

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

I made two batches because I was overly cautious when adding color the first time around. You can be somewhat generous with the color you choose. The way it looks in the pot is much darker than it will be when it’s spread out on the foil, which is a little bit darker than it appears once broken up into tiny pieces. The first time I dipped a toothpick into my color to swirl through the sugar, and I ended up with glass that was significantly more transparent and slightly aquamarine in hue. The slight greenish cast actually seems to be more accurate when compared to what you see in the show, but I was also trying to match the blue that I used within the cupcakes themselves. So the second time I dipped the end of a butter knife into the gel and put a tiny knob into the sugar. I immediately worried that I had gone too far but once everything was broken apart it looked excellent. I think Heisenberg would be cool with it.

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

While the glass chills you can get to work on your cupcakes. Since these have a sugar cookie base you will want to prep the sugar dough, press it into the cupcake liners, and par-bake them before filling them with your cake batter. I used about a tablespoon of dough in each cup, compressing it with the flat end of a 1/4 measuring cup. There is enough crust for a dozen cupcakes and because the cookie takes up a portion of the space in each cup, you will end up with a little cake batter leftover. I had enough to bake 4 more cupcakes without cookie bottoms.

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

I wanted to continue the blue theme throughout the cupcake so I picked up a package of Wilton’s Colourburst Batter Bits to fold into the batter. While this step is entirely optional it sure looks pretty in the end. I think the only thing left to say now is, “JESSE, WE HAVE TO COOK!”

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake

Sugar Glass
Take care when working with hot sugar!
Print
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 3/4 cup water
  3. 2/3 cup light corn syrup
  4. Food coloring (I used about an 8th of a teaspoon of Wilton icing gel in Sky Blue to get the color shown)
Instructions
  1. Line a baking pan (one with an edge so no syrup spills over the side) with foil and spritz with a little cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in saucepan over medium heat, whisking until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add candy thermometer to your pot and bring the sugar to a boil without stirring. When it reaches 260F add your coloring, but again do not stir.
  4. Let the syrup continue to cook until it reaches 300F. I found this process to take anywhere from 30-45 minutes and that I didn’t need to stand watch over it constantly.
  5. When a drop of the syrup hardens and pops in a bowl of ice water you know it’s ready. Remove from heat and allow it to rest a few minutes while the remaining air bubbles work their way out.
  6. Slowly (and carefully!) pour the syrup into your prepared pan and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
  7. Once completely cooled and hardened you can pull the entire sheet out of the pan by the edges of the foil and move it to a durable surface. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the top and whack it with a hammer a few times. Make the shards as big or as small as you like.
Adapted from Sarah Jayne
Adapted from Sarah Jayne
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

 
Sugar Cookie Base
Serves 12
A tasty sugar cookie base with no leavening, so it stays nice and flat in the liners.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  3. 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 2 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light. Beat in flour, salt, milk and vanilla, until mixture is moist and crumbly (it should clump together if you press it between your fingers).
  2. Drop a rounded tablespoon of the prepared dough into each liner. Gently press the dough down with the bottom of a glass or a 1/4 measuring cup as I’ve done. Your fingers could do the trick as well.
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes until just set but not yet browning on the edges.
Adapted from Baking Bites
Adapted from Baking Bites
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake
Serves 16
Pale, sweet, and moist – a tasty vanilla cake that is made without eggs.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  3. 2 tablespoons corn starch
  4. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  8. 2 tablespoons Ener-g egg replacer dissolved in 1/4 cup water (or 2 eggs)
  9. 1/3 cup sour cream
  10. 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  11. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  12. 2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In stand mixer combine sugar, flour, starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add in butter and mix on medium-low speed for three minutes. Because there is so little butter, you’ll end up with a very fine crumb texture.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together egg replacer, sour cream, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  5. Add this mixture to the flour and beat until just combined.
  6. Fold in a a few tablespoons of your colored batter bits if you decide to use them.
  7. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to cooking racks.
Adapted from Cupcake Project
Adapted from Cupcake Project
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Quick Vanilla Buttercream
Serves 16
A light, fluffy buttercream that comes together in minutes.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups confectioners sugar
  2. 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1-3 teaspoons almond liqueur (I used an almond hazelnut blend called Pisa) , optional
  5. 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream
Instructions
  1. In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
  2. Add vanilla, liqueur and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
Adapted from Gale Gand
Adapted from Gale Gand
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Breaking Bad Blue Meth Cupcake