Friday, September 30, 2005

Dutch Apple Puff

Dutch Apple Puff puffs up straight out of the oven, then collapses with the weight of cinnamon-y apples

Sunday dinner. Roast beef or roast pork. Baked ham, the layer of fat scored and pricked with clove. Fried chicken some times and mashed potatoes, always. Pickles from the cellar. A vegetable or two, mostly lapping in mushroom soup and topped with cracker crumbs. In summer, sliced tomatoes and fresh lima beans or sweet corn.

Do families still gather round big tables after Sunday church, three generations at least, so many aunts and cousins that it’s nearly as certain the meal will end with birthday cake as it will start with grace?

Growing up, some weeks Mom cooked Sunday dinner. Mostly though, it’s Sunday suppers that I remember.

If it were just the four of us, or five including Gramma who lived in town, Mom would send my sister or me to the basement for the waffle iron.

In minutes, we’d sit down to plates of steaming waffles, sugar-crisp on the outside, soft in the middle and topped with fat scoops of vanilla ice cream and a few drops of precious maple syrup.

It must be our waffle suppers that make my mind associate certain foods with certain days. DUTCH APPLE PANCAKE is Sunday food, Sunday breakfast, perhaps, but definitely Sunday supper.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Is there a Sunday food at your house? Forward a recipe to e-mail.

DUTCH APPLE PUFF

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time-to-table: 45 minutes
Serves 4 as Sunday supper, 6 as dessert

Preheat the oven to 450F. Spoon 1 tablespoon butter into a large, oven-proof skillet and let it melt in the oven.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a second large skillet. Peel, core and thinly slice 3 tart apples (about 1-1/2 pounds), adding to the skillet as they’re prepped. Once all the apples are in, cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until soft and syrupy. Once cooked, reduce heat to low to keep warm.

While the apples cook, mix 2 eggs, 1/2 cup whole milk (low-fat milk doesn’t work), 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt with a hand mixer or in a blender. Spread the butter around the first skillet and up the sides, then pour the batter in. Sprinkle with another 1 tablespoon sugar.

Bake for 15 minutes, watching through the oven window; when it puffs up, puncture with a fork. Reduce the temperature to 350F and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to plates. Top with warm apple mixture and serve.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving as Entrée/Dessert: 304/203Cal; 13g/9g Tot Fat; 7g/5g Sat Fat; 42g/28g Carb; 2g/1g Fiber; 208mg/139mg Sodium; 150mg/100mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 7/5 points

Apple Recipes for Every Course

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Quick Supper: Thick Chops with Sauerkraut Power Food Broccoli Salad American Apple Pie

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Fat Rascals

The Recipe: My cousin Laura's rendition of an old-fashioned biscuit from Yorkshire in the north of England, peppered with dried currants. The dough is mixed by hand (so, hey, no mixer required!) and rolls out so easily. At Christmas, I especially like to make Fat Rascals in small star shapes just a bite or two big.

But first, let me tell you a story about a boy on my street. Would cookies help, even a little?

Fat Rascals ♥ KitchenParade.com, a classic English biscuit cookie. The dough is mixed by hand, no mixer required! It rolls easily, try star shapes for Christmas, rounds for year-round treats.

Mornings, I watch a boy trudge up the street on his way to school.

He’s maybe nine. His backpack hangs low, his head bends downward. Delaying the inevitable, he kicks at leaves, a rock, the curb.

Afternoons, I watch the same-but-different boy head down the street toward home. His steps are quick, his shoulders thrown back, his face lifts to the sun. Still heavy, the backpack now bounces.

School may be hard for this man-in-the-making. Perhaps his classmates tease or the learning comes slowly.

But my own wish for the nameless one is that his lively homeward steps mean he will be welcomed by both real and cookie hugs.

Maybe someday I’ll meet him on the street with cookies and together we’ll walk home so his mom can be sure it’s okay for him to eat them.

Maybe then, we’ll become cookie friends and he’ll wave to the window as he passes, both directions, knowing his way is watched.

ALANNA's TIPS We're so accustomed to our "power tools" in the kitchen that it feels weird – not hard, just weird – to mix a bowl of cookies by hand. But don't switch to a mixer, Fat Rascals turn out sturdy but tender cookies when mixed by hand, just you, a bowl and your fingers. In my kitchen, it takes about an hour for small cubes of butter to reach a working temperature. This dough is really easy to manage, it mixes easily, it rolls easily, it just handles so well! But hmmm ... I'm also thinking that you could shape the dough into a roll, then cut it in rounds. I need to try this "slice and bake" version! Raisins may be substituted for currants but are sweeter and larger. So if you use raisins, make the two-inch rounds or choose a larger cut-out. But honestly, once you start baking with currants instead of raisins, you just might not go back. While the butter comes to room temperature, I like to soak the currants in 3 tablespoons of the milk – except that I don't always use milk! Apple cider works, I suspect for grown-up cookies, sherry would work beautifully too. Before I had a kitchen scale, I lightly aerated flour with a spoon to counteract the natural settling. You’ll use up to 25 percent less flour and the results will be noticeably lighter! I love-love-love to roll out cookie dough with powdered sugar instead of flour! Look for lots more tips like this in Holiday Baking Tips from a Certifiable Cookie-Baking Fiend!
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

FAT RASCALS

Mix, roll and cut: 20 minutes
Bake: 30 – 40 minutes
Makes 20 two-inch round cookies or about 40 small stars
  • 3 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 375g
  • 3/4 cup (150g) dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/8 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup (8oz/228g/2 sticks) salted butter, cut in small cubes, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (120g) dried currants
  • 3 – 6 tablespoons milk or another liquid
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling

Heat oven to 400F/200C.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. With your fingers, rub the butter into the dry mixture until crumbly, first smashing each cube with flour between the pads of your fingers.

Stir in the currants and enough milk (start with 3 tablespoons, add more as needed) to produce a soft dough. Gather the dough in your hands to form a ball. There's no need to chill the dough before rolling it out.

Lightly dust a flat work surface with powdered sugar. With a rolling pin or a glass bottle, roll the dough into a disc about 1/3-inch thick. Cut the dough in two-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or use small cookie cutters. Gently re-gather and re-roll the scraps but do know, these cookies will not be quite so pretty and may bake off differently.

Arrange the cookies an inch apart (this allows for a little spreading) on a baking sheet lined with parchment. If there are any errant currants sticking out of the cookies, gently remove them since they'll burn.

Bake until golden, in my oven that means about 11 minutes but your timing will vary, based on the temperature of the dough (colder takes longer), the thickness of the cookies (thicker will take longer), the size of the cookies (larger take longer), the weight of the baking sheet (heavier takes longer). The cookies are done when the edges and bottoms turn golden but the centers remain slightly soft. Let the cookies cool for about five minutes before gently removing from the baking sheet to finish cooling on a rack.

FAT RASCALS? What a funny name for a cookie! My recipe comes from my cousin Laura, she shared it in our family cookbook way back in 2002. I just thought it was an unusual – but memorable, yes? – name and kept baking. Since then, I've learned that Fat Rascals are a treat best known in the north of England in the Yorkshire region – except that the Yorkshire biscuits are more like scones. Laura's (and now my and, well, YOUR) Fat Rascals are decidedly cookies, a crisp shortbread-like cookie, but with a touch of caramel flavor (that's the brown sugar at work) and spice (that's the cinnamon). So good, a real favorite!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Small Cookie: 97 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 12mg Cholesterol; 64mg Sodium; 13g Carb; 0g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 2 & PointsPlus 3 & SmartPoints 4

More After-School Treats for Kids

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Gum Drop Cookies Molasses Cookies Banana Oatmeal Cookies
~ more cookie recipes ~

My Favorite Christmas Cut-Out Cookies

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Family Shortbread Chocolate Shortbread Cookies No-Chill Cutout Sugar Cookies

Friday, September 16, 2005

Quick Brown Bread

A 'quick' brown bread, easy to mix by hand with just a wooden spoon. No eggs!

Easy-mix, cupboard-ingredient BROWN BREAD may be a misnomer. It isn’t the yeast-leavened bread that comes to mind but instead a quick bread leavened with baking soda and reminiscent of a steamed Boston brown bread.

As regular readers will notice, I’ve 'Alanna-sized' the recipe, reducing the sugar by half. I also cut the currants / raisins along with the nuts, following my mom’s theory about chocolate chips: a few ‘delight’ when more can seem ‘rather ordinary’.

The changes result in a 20 percent drop in calories and a 33 percent reduction in fat – and with no loss in enjoyment, an absolute requirement.

A favorite new baking pan helps too. It is longer and narrower than a standard 9x5 bread pan but holds the same volume of batter.

The length change makes it easier to cut a dozen substantial-seeming pieces versus a dozen skimpy-seeming pieces. This is a mind game, of course, but like serving meals on smaller plates, it works.

If you think it might for you, too, visit KingArthurFlour.com for a Danish loaf pan.

ALANNA's TIPS Soften any brown sugar lumps before adding since they won’t get worked out during the usual butter-sugar creaming process. Unsulphured molasses has a lighter, cleaner sugar cane flavor but can be harder to find so stock up when you do.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send your own tips for improving nutrition to e-mail.

(QUICK) BROWN BREAD

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Oven time: 50 minutes
12 slices
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (reduced from 2/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup molasses (unsulphured if available)
  • 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins (reduced from 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (reduced from 3/4 cup)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add remaining ingredients and stir together until just combined. Pour batter evenly into a lightly buttered 9x5 bread pan, leveling the top with back of a spoon.

Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until a slim knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool for five minutes, then remove from pan.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per slice: 217 Cal; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 40g Carb; 3g Fiber; 262mg Sodium; 3mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points

LATER NOTES

This bread is barely sweet, so to my taste anyway, is perfect as a 'morning cake'. It's also especially good with an unsweetened apple butter.
For a vegan version of this already-eggless quick bread, substitute soy milk for buttermilk and add a tablespoon of vinegar.
No buttermilk on hand? Just add a tablespoon of vinegar to sweet milk.
If there's a Great Harvest bakery in your neighborhood, stop by to purchase just-found whole wheat flour. It's not inexpensive but the freshness can't be matched.
King Arthur keeps changing manufacturers for the Danish Loaf Pan. If you encounter a page reading, "This product is no longer available", just enter Danish Loaf Pan in their search box and chances are, another will be available. The one I have is definitely a long-time favorite and is much recommended.

More Quick Bread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Shhh Banana Bread Autumn Pumpkin Bread Best Shortcake Biscuits for Strawberry Shortcake
~ more quick bread recipes, sweet ~
~ more quick bread recipes, savory ~

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