One-Hour Homemade Ricotta Makes about 1 1/2 cups Adapted from One-Hour Cheese 4 cups (1 quart) whole milk 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon salt In a large pot gently stir together milk, cream, and lemon juice ...
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one-hour homemade ricotta and more...



one-hour homemade ricotta

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If you have an hour and a stove and enjoy delicious things then I have a weekend kitchen project just for you! Homemade ricotta! Making cheese is “whey” easier than it seems. Cheese-making has been on my to-do list for “whey” too long. (Are we tired of this joke, yet?) (No “whey”!) I promised myself I would give it a go after my trip to Vermont this fall when I got to go behind the scenes at the holy grail of cheese-making BUT then life happened and there was always a-something-else that required my time. So the other day I got serious. I gave myself a pep talk, carved out one hour, and began my first foray into cheese-making.

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Homemade ricotta is like a gateway cheese. One you start with the ricotta the doors open to the hard stuff. You realize what were you ever waiting for because that was just so ridonkously easy. Now I just can’t stop thinking about all the other cheeses out there that can come out of my tiny kitchen. Ricotta. Burrata. Don’t even get me start-ta[ed].

Ricotta is the most simple of DIY cheeses so we’re going to start there. All you need is lemon juice, whole milk and cream. The most involved tool that is required is a kitchen thermometer (but you already have in your arsenal from beer caramel-making, right?).

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After you collect your tools, it’s time to get started. Begin by simmering the cream, milk, and lemon juice together until the mixture reaches 190°F and curds begin to form. You are halfway there! Wasn’t that so easy? This is the point in the process when I started asking myself the question: Why did you wait so long to try making ricotta? It is the perfect dinner party snack and is about 400 times better when it is lovingly crafted from scratch.

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After the mixture reaches 190°F and curds are forming left and right, remove the pan from the heat, and let is sit for 10 minutes. This is when the curds are releasing whey and you have to let them do their thing and be patient.

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While you wait, get ready for the next step. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a big bowl. My biggest bowl was actually not big enough for all the liquid that strained through so I had to switch out the once which is not that annoying of a step but if you have a ginormous bowl, then I would recommend using it here.

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After all the liquid has drained, gather the ends of the cloth together, and give it a good squeeze. Gently stir in the salt and transfer to a container for storage. Just like that you made cheese! Now go pour yourself a glass of wine and have a homemade cheese party.

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One-Hour Homemade Ricotta
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Adapted from One-Hour Cheese

4 cups (1 quart) whole milk
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large pot gently stir together milk, cream, and lemon juice and set over medium heat. Stir every few minutes to prevent a skin from forming on the top of the surface and check that there is no burning on the bottom of the pan (turn down the heat if this begins to happen).

Check the temperature when you start to see steam rising from the pot. Curds will begin to form rapidly as the temperature gets close to 190°F. Stay close to the pot at this point and when the temperature reaches 190°F turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner.

Let the pot sit undisturbed for 10 minutes to give the curds a chance to release more whey. While you wait, line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over your largest bowl. Pour the curds through the cloth and let the whey drain for about 10 minutes. Gather the cloth into a bundle and give it a gentle squeeze to strain out the last little bit of liquid. Unwrap the cheese and gently stir in the salt. Transfer to a small bowl and chill in the refrigerator then serve.

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.
 
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Want more “whey” cool cheese-making ideas? Stop by The Culinary Life tomorrow for another One-Hour cheese recipe. And here is a little sneak peek – which I will be sharing soon – of how I topped my ricotta snacks!!

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mini (baked) toasted coconut banana bread doughnuts

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn!

Mini doughnuts are pretty exciting. Tiny plus doughnuts – what is not to love? But I should probably clear the air before going any further. For quite a while I have been against The Mini Doughnut Pan. It always seemed like a frivolous baking extravagance that even I could not justify. (And this is coming from the human who stores sprinkles and cookie cutters under her bed.) There just seemed to me so many reasons against purchasing one, the biggest being that in my humble opinion The Doughnut Pan a one-trick pony.

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 1

Get past the obvious and there aren’t too many reasons to tap in a mini doughnut pan into the game. Well maybe sorting beads. Or making ice rings. Or homemade sidewalk chalk. Or even making bird seed snacks.

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 2

Okay, fine, there are apparently hundreds of possibilities for when a doughnut pan is appropriate! So rewind back to the tangle of slush and endless drab days and post-Holiday sales of a few months ago when low-and-behold I discovered a pan on extra super sale between the red and green cupcake liners and snowman gift bags in the back of a kitchen store.

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 3

It had been so marked down that I had no choice but to give it a home. Practical reasons usually hold me back from making needless purchases but when a good price tag enters into the equation, frugality always wins.

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 4

And so for a while the pan just hung out. It wasn’t even being used to make bird seed treats or as an ice cube tray. But recently, for no other reason than having an old banana in the freezer and a handful of coconut left in my pantry, I took The Pan out for a spin. Thus a banana bread-esque variety of the baked doughnut was born.

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 5

With a bowl and a whisk this quick batter comes together in no time flat. The first batch came out of the oven and then it all made sense. I got it. I got everything about the craze. I understood why baked doughnuts have taken over the Internet. They are amazing and everything I thought they never would be able to be. Don’t be like me. Get down on a pan and invite yourself to the tiny doughnut party.

mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 6

Mini (Baked) Toasted Coconut Banana Bread Doughnuts with Chocolate Espresso Glaze
Makes about 3 dozen mini doughnuts

For the doughnuts:
1/2 cup (120 ml) puréed banana (from one banana; very well mashed works fine too)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup (75 grams) brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup (125 grams) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup (25 grams) shredded sweetened coconut, lightly toasted

For the glaze:
1 cup (100 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons espresso powder
2 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed
sprinkles and toasted coconut, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter or spray a doughnut pan and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together the pureed banana, coconut oil, brown sugar and egg until smooth. Evenly sprinkle the flour over the wet mixture then add the baking soda, salt, baking powder and nutmeg. With several quick strokes – and being careful not to overmix – combine the dry ingredients into the wet until just mixed. Fold in the coconut. Transfer to a large zip-top plastic bag, snip off a corner, and pipe the batter into the prepared pan. (You can also use a spoon but the plastic bag trick really comes in handy here!) Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched and are lightly brown. Turn out the doughnuts onto a rack and let cool completely.

While the doughnuts are cooling, make the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and espresso powder in a medium bowl. Whisk in the milk – one tablespoon at a time – until you have a smooth glaze. Dip the top of each doughnut into the glaze and garnish with sprinkles and/or toasted coconut.

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.
 
mini toasted coconut banana bread (baked) doughnuts via butter me up, Brooklyn! 7

    
 

red wine brownie hearts + a GALentine’s day video

red wine brownie hearts

Valentine’s Day seems to be a polarizing holiday; a love or loathe type of situation that makes people cringe in disgust or happily don headbands with bobbing red glitter heart antennae attached. This year it is just a straight-up polar-vortexing holiday which is neither here nor there and that was just me trying to get in all my vortex jokes while I am able.

I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle and my usual route is the “how many conversation hearts I can consume today” approach. But regardless of your stance on Valentine’s Day, it is easy to get behind Galentine’s Day. Galentine’s Day is all about celebrating lady friends, your group of gal pals, or your BBF that you’ve known for 100-years. Literally. (Just had a thought – and maybe this needs some workshopping – but is the dude equivalent “Pal”-entine’s Day?)

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I celebrated Galentine’s Day a bit early this year (I mean honestly, every day can be Galentine’s Day!) so that I could share this little video with y’all. It is a celebration of lady friend love, booze, crafts, glitter and red wine brownies.

 

Are you ready for a boozy red wine brownie yet?

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This video was made by the incredible Mackenzie Smith of mackannecheese.com and who you may remember from the Holiday Baking Elf Special: How to Spritz-up Your Holiday Baking with a Cookie Press. She not only knows her way around the kitchen as well as behind the camera, but is a lady friend extraordinaire and someone I’d drink wine out of a measuring cup with anytime.

Pick up a heart-shaped cookie cutter, some heart-shaped sprinkles, a bottle of red wine, and your most favorite friends. Happy Galentine’s Day (and Valentine’s Day) y’all. xo!

Red Wine Brownie Hearts
Makes 2-3 dozen hearts

Adapted from this recipe; spruced up for Galentine’s Day

For the brownies:
8 ounces (250 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup (2 sticks or 225 grams) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine
4 eggs
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (125 grams) flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:
2 cups (200 grams) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (35 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9×13 pan and line with two sheets of parchment paper, then butter the parchment. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and the butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugars and vanilla. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and then the wine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and stir until the batter is smooth and has thickened slightly.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs attached. You may need to bake the brownies for a few minutes more, but set your timer for 20 minutes and then hang out in your kitchen for the last few minutes of baking time just to make sure they don’t over bake. An underbaked brownie is better than an overbaked one. Remove from the pan and let cool completely. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to stamp out heart-shaped brownies. Save the scraps!

Make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa and salt. Add wine, cream and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Dip the tops of each brownie in the glaze and decorate with heart shaped sprinkles.

Make brownie balls: Use your fingers to break up the remaining scraps into fine crumbs. Throughly mix in a tablespoon or so of glaze to help the crumbs stick together. Roll into small balls, and then roll into colored sanding sugar. Garnish with one tiny heart sprinkle, if so desired.

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.

 

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P.S. A HUGE thank you to Mackenzie Smith for putting this video together but a huge shout also goes out to Josie who took amazing notes and for her internet screen debut, to Jason (of Cowboy) who wrote and performed the music, to Jonny for his work on sound and for everything generally in life, to Bonnie for hosting, and to my Brooklyn lady friend posse whom I love and who needed very little convincing to hang out with a camera, drink wine and craft with the world’s largest container of glitter. Hugs to all!

galentines day on BMUB

    
 

superbowl + meyer lemon bars with salt n’ pepper crust

meyer lemon bars with salt and pepper crust

I’ve lived 28 years of life without hearing or even knowing that the words “Polar” and “Vortex” had any possible meaning when strung together. Now their meaning is as clear as ice. Also quite literally, as cold as ice.

There has been so much crazy going on these days! Not only has this January had more snow and cold than I can remember in all of the 10 years I’ve lived here COMBINED — but I’ve been watching football. Watching football comes as a shock to most everyone who knows me because for all those years I spent not having any idea that it was possible for lone arctic winds to break free from the larger wind pack and take an uncharted vacay south; not one second was spent caring about football.

seahawks brownies via butter me up brooklyn

But then my hometown of Seattle turned it up a notch in the sports department and I couldn’t help getting on board. I have a hat. I have watched every game this season. (Well, minus one. I have no good excuse. I would like to publicly apologize to the sports gods for missing it.) I even know what “icing the kicker” means! WHO AM I? If you would have asked me that last year, I would have thought you meant it involved an offset spatula, a layer cake, and was something vaguely sporty.

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So I made some Seahawk-themed brownies to celebrate. I also made these lemon bars because brownies and lemon bars are a match made in bar cookie heaven. Make a batch of each and everyone is happy. But these aren’t just any lemon bars. They are made with Meyer lemons which are like the holy grail of lemons.

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Meyer lemons are slightly sweet, tinged with a lightly orange hue and are something special. A few years ago I baked them into a yogurt cake with toasted pine nut crumble from a bag of homegrown backyard lemons which I brought home after a trip visiting my BFF in San Francisco. Meyer lemons are a bit of an indulgence, but you’ll only need two for this recipe, and are well worth the investment as they will surely thaw away at least a few layers of “Polar Vortex”.

Also: I can’t forget about this crust. The salt and pepper crust is a combination I’ve been wanting to set up on a blind date with Meyer lemon for a long time now. It is a hint of something unexpected. All you need is a pinch of white pepper to bring a slight heat which is balanced by the tangy, sweet, lemon filling.

So the Superbowl is coming up and let’s say that you need to bring something to a party. And maybe lemon bars aren’t your thang? Here are a few recipes that would be right at home amongst the chip bowls and beer cans and chicken wings.

SUPERBOWL SNACK 1 via butter me up Brooklyn!

This is the recipe I used for the Seahawk Brownies above. I topped it with an espresso buttercream (I had to include the Seattle coffee reference somewhere!) and then drew on the logo and topped them with festive sprinkles. Straight-up Classic (Bonus!) One Bowl Fudge Brownies

SUPERBOWL SNACK 2 via butter me up Brooklyn

Buffalo hummus. Top with more hot sauce if you can handle the heat. Hummus à la Buffalo Wing Sauce

SUPERBOWL SNACK 3 via butter me up Brooklyn

Probably the most popular recipe on BMUB. Eat the rest of the jar with a spoon. Frosted Speculoos Cookie Butter Bars

SUPERBOWL SNACK 4 via butter me up Brooklyn

Make these the next day with all those leftover potato chips. Crushed Potato Chip PB+J Thumbprint Cookies

SUPERBOWL SNACK 5 via butter me up Brooklyn

One of the only reasons to sacrifice a beer for non-drinking. Also, it is topped with melted butter. Parmesan Garlic Herb Beer Bread

SUPERBOWL SNACK 6 via butter me up Brooklyn

Pretz-ales. Not just a silly name. These would also be great made small as little soft pretzel nugget bites! Pretz-ales (Soft Beer Pretzels)

SUPERBOWL SNACK 7 via butter me up Brooklyn

Please show me a Superbowl party that doesn’t involve jello shots. At least yours will be the classiest. Liquored-up Negroni Jello

SUPERBOWL SNACK 8 via butter me up Brooklyn

Three ingredients. Big results. Crushed Pretzel and Peanut Butter Truffles

Happy Superbowl-ing!

Meyer Lemon and Lime Bars with Salt n’ Pepper Crust
Makes 25 small squares

For the crust:
1/2 cup (113 grams or 1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup (35 grams) powdered sugar
1 cup (125 grams) flour
3/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
2 eggs
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly-squeezed Meyer lemon juice
3 tablespoons (45 ml) freshly-squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup (31 grams) flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter an 8×8 square pan, line with two overlapping sheets of parchment, then butter the parchment. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Add the flour, white pepper, and salt and mix until incorporated. Dump the crust into the prepared pan and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. If the dough is sticky, you can lightly flour your fingertips to make it easier to press in to the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown around the edges.

While the crust is baking, make the filling! Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a medium bowl, then whisk in the Meyer lemon juice, lime juice, and flour. Continue to whisk for a minute or two more, until the mixture is smooth, well-combined, has thickened slightly and no lumps of flour remain. Set aside until the crust is ready!

When the crust has reached a toasty point of light brown, remove, and carefully pour the filling over the warm crust. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the middle has just set.

Let the bars cool completely then use the parchment sling to remove them from the pan. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours until firm (or overnight). When you are ready to serve, slice into small squares and dust each with powdered sugar. Store extra bars in the refrigerator.

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.
 
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cream cheese spritz + a video!

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We are now three-quarters through my favorite time of the year: The Month of Holiday Baking. It may be the food coloring, it may be the parties, it may be the snow that we have been getting in Brooklyn that feels oh-so-festive but regardless of the reason, I been joyously dusted in flour from head to toe. I’ve made a few batches of ginger molasses chocolate chip cookies, a round of my aunt’s lemon sugar cookies with almond icing, and then after cracking the caramel code – spent an afternoon wrapping carm-ales in tiny squares of waxed paper.

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But my most favorite thing that December brings, is the perfection that is spritz. Spritz cookies are one part nostalgic (because my Chicago grandmother used to make them every year) one part sprinkle (and what, may I ask do sprinkles not make better?) and an equal pinch of  festive and delightful.

Spritz in their pure form are the simplest of butter cookies – butter, sugar, egg and flour. My grandma added cream cheese and I love the slight flavor it gives spritz so I have continued the tradition. But then the crazy happens. Add a pitch of salt, a splash of vanilla or anise or heck – add both. Divide the dough and give each a drop of color to make green trees and red stars. Find your press. Stamp out cookies. Then sprinkle.

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I usually go overboard with the sprinkles which is like the same feeling I get when faced with a buffet line. I wish I could commit to well-composed plate with just a few items. This never happens because I usually get too excited and find myself pulled in every which way and direction. In the end, my plate such a random assortment of food items that I promise myself next time it will be different.

 

As you will see in this little video, when it comes to sprinkling the more tiny bits of sugar the better. But let’s talk about this video! Since spritz making is one of my favorite holiday activities, I thought I would share the process with you from my tiny kitchen. Sometime cookie presses can seem intimidating – they have so many parts! Don’t they seem finicky? But once you introduce yourself to a press, it will be your lifetime friend. Mine is a vintage Marcato press that I found it on Etsy for $5 dollars (which is the deal of a lifetime) but because I only use mine once a year, I can never figure out how it works. Also because I know you are wondering. Yes, I really do keep my sprinkles in my closest.

Finally, I would like to give a big shout-out and huge thank you to Mackenzie Smith for her work behind the camera, for editing this holiday dream, and for hanging out in my tiny kitchen and eating cookies with me. And to Josephine Floyd for being the best key bounce holder anyone could ask for and for her fabulous sprinkling work as a hand model.

Happy spritz-making! I hope everyone has a lovely holiday filled with cookies and bourbon and see y’all in 2014!

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Cream Cheese Spritz
Makes about 4 dozen tiny cookies

2 sticks (1 cup or 226 grams) butter, softened
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup or 100 grams) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or 1/2 teaspoon anise extract)
2 1/2 cups (312 grams) flour
food coloring + sprinkles + colored sanding sugars, for decorating

Cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and almond extract* until incorporated.

Add the flour and beat for a minute or so until it is almost all combined. At this point I usually divide the dough into thirds for coloring. I start with red and add a few drops of food coloring to the dough and beat until combined. Then I clean the beaters, wipe out the bowl, and repeat with the green. *You can also omit the almond extract (in the above step) and add any flavorings, such as anise, along with the food coloring so that each color has a different flavor.

At this point you can wrap the dough in plastic and chill for several days. Just be sure to let the dough come to room temperature before pressing them out. You want to dough to be soft enough so that your cookies will come out of the press nice and easy.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. On an ungreased cookie sheet (this is important because otherwise the cookies won’t come off of the press and stick to the sheet like they are supposed to) stamp out as many cookies as will fit. You can fit them fairly close together. When you’ve filled a sheet, sprinkle with colored sugars and other festive decorations.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges are stiff and the cookies are lightly browned on the bottom. Let cool on the sheet for several minutes, then transfer to a rack. Store cookies at room temperature in a covered container for a week or two.

Note: There is a print link embedded within this post, please visit this post to print it.
 
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